The Distinguished Men's Coaching Award honors the legacy of Monte Nitzkowski who was synonymous with men's water polo in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s while serving as head coach of the men's Olympic Team in 1972, 1980, and 1984. He led Team USA to a bronze medal in 1972 and a silver medal in 1984 Olympics, while also serving as an
assistant coach with the 1968 and 2000 men's Olympic Teams.
In his 14th season at the helm of the Princeton men's water polo team, Nicolao led his squad to an Eastern Championship and a berth to the 2011 NCAA Championships. The Eastern title was Princeton's second in the last three years and was followed up by a third place finish at the NCAA Championships as Princeton topped UC-San Diego.
Nicolao is 277-121 all-time in men's competition and has helped the Princeton men to seven Southern titles, three Eastern Championships, three NCAA appearances and two national third-place finishes. On the women's side, Nicolao has a 291-116 record and sits nine wins away from reaching 300 for his women's coaching career. He has led the women to six Southern titles and one Eastern crown.
Nicolao was the Association of Collegiate Water Polo Coaches Men's National Coach of the Year in 2004 and has a combined five Eastern Coach of the Year Awards split between the men and the women (Men: 2004, 2009, 2011; Women: 2001, 2007). Additionally, he has garnered Southern Coach of the Year honors on six occasions, three each with the men and women (Men: 2001, 2003, 2008; Women: 2001, 2005, 2006).
Nicolao (third from right in second row) and fellow award winners.