NEW YORK – The Columbia field hockey program and head coach Marybeth Freeman have announced that U.S. National Team member and 2012 Olympian Caroline Nichols will join the Lions as an assistant coach.

"Caroline brings a tremendous amount of hockey experience and tactical knowledge to Columbia from her time at Old Dominion and with the U.S. National Team,” Freeman said. “During her time at Old Dominion, she placed a strong focus on learning fundamental skills which will provide a fantastic visual aid for our student-athletes. As a two-time Olympian, Caroline will share what she has learned as a student of the game through her successes on the international stage. As predominantly a backfield player, Caroline has played with and against the top forwards in the world. Those experiences will prove beneficial for our overall team attack.

“I'm looking forward to Caroline working with Samantha Carr and myself in maintaining our coaching balance. On behalf of the Columbia program, we are thrilled to have someone like Caroline join our hockey family."

Nichols has been playing field hockey at the international level for the past five years. As a defender on the U.S. National Team, Nichols was a member of the 2008 Beijing Olympics team, the 2008 Olympic Qualifier team and the 2010 World Cup Qualifier Team. Nichols was also on the U.S. team that defeated top-ranked Argentina to win gold at the 2011 Pan American Games. In 2006, she was named to the USA World Cup Training Squad and was a member of the Netherlands Tour team in 2007.

She was named to the 2012 London Olympics team last month and will look to help the U.S. earn its first medal since 1984. The 2008 U.S. squad finished eighth.

"I am very honored to be joining the Columbia University Field Hockey program,” Nichols said. “The team is made up of so many talented and committed women that are led by a knowledgeable and driven head coach. I am thrilled to be a part of this program backed by a dedicated administration and I look forward to sharing my knowledge and experience. I am committed to helping these Columbia student-athletes grow in the sport.”

Nichols, who an assistant coach at Iowa in 2010, has worked with the USA Field Hockey Futures program since 2008. She has been a certified site director and head coach since 2008 and the Regional Coaching Director for San Diego, Calif., since 2009.

Nichols had an outstanding collegiate playing career at Old Dominion as a four-year letterwinner from 2003-06. She was a national all-academic team selection and an all-conference honoree from 2004-06. As a junior, she was named a NFHCA second team All-South Region selection and was named to the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) all-tournament team. In 2006, Nichols was recognized as a NFHCA first team All-American and an NFHCA first team All-South Region honoree. Additionally, she was named the 2006 CAA Player of the Year and CAA Defender of the Year, marking the first time in CAA history someone swept both honors in the same season.

Nichols earned her bachelor of science in biology with honors from Old Dominion University.