Regarded as one of the best players in the history of UK women's basketball, Nichols is in her sixth season as an assistant coach. Also serving as the recruiting coordinator for the Wildcats, Coach Nichols is a large part of the continuing success of the UK women's team over the past five seasons. Nichols hit the recruiting trail in 2000 and brought in nine newcomers and the 11th-ranked recruiting class in the nation. Freshman center SeSe Helm was named to the All-SEC Freshman team and was the team's second leading scorer behind veteran LaTonya McDole. Many of these young players can relate to Coach Nichols because she knows the meaning of being a Kentucky Wildcat. Nichols was a collegiate player and starter for Kentucky from 1982-86 under Coach Terry Hall. She averaged 11.4 points and seven rebounds per game as a freshman. Nichols' freshman year was the same season in which UK was ranked 11th nationally by the Associated Press en route to a 23-5 record and an NCAA Tournament berth. She led UK in scoring her sophomore through senior seasons, averaging 18.4 points per game as a sophomore, 18.4 points per game as a junior and 16.7 points per game as a senior. She is the only UK women's basketball player to be named to the All-SEC team three consecutive seasons (1984-86). She also served as the team's co-captain her junior and senior seasons.
During her four-year career, Nichols left a lasting mark in the UK record books. She ranks second on UK's all-time scoring list with 1,798 points, seventh on the all-time assists list with 323 assists and second on the all-time rebounding list with 877 boards. She held the title of all-time steals leader with 278 career steals for almost 10 years until the mark was surpassed in 1995. She currently ranks second on that list as well.
"Leslie is a top recruiter in college basketball and her recruiting skills have not gone unnoticed," Mattox said. "She is one of the main reasons the excitement has returned to women's basketball at UK."
Nichols, a product of Henry Clay High School in Lexington, was a two-time all-state player and a fourth-team Parade All-American as a senior. She received her bachelor's degree from UK in agricultural economics in 1986. Nichols and her husband, former UK football player Al Carter, reside in Lexington.