Associate Head Coach
Nicci Hays-Fort, who joined the program in July 2006, heads the program's recruiting efforts and begins her fifth season with the Blue Demons and her first as the associate head coach in 2010-11.
In her four previous seasons with the Blue Demons, DePaul has advanced to four NCAA Tournaments and has combined for an 83-47 record. Hays-Fort has helped mentor 10 All-BIG EAST performers, while numerous student-athletes have been honored for their academic achievements in the classroom.
In 2009-10 the Blue Demons posted a school-record eighth consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance while they finished tied for sixth in the BIG EAST Conference regular season standings before reaching the quarterfinals of the conference championship. The season was highlighted with an exciting 75-60 win over No. 10/6 Florida State on Dec. 20 before the Blue Demons went on to win the Duel and the Desert Championship.
The 2008-09 saw DePaul post a 23-10 record and 10-6 in league play, the Blue Demons finished in a tie for fourth in the BIG EAST regular season standings while they advanced to the semifinals of the BIG EAST Tournament for the third consecutive year.
In Hays-Fort's second season with the Blue Demons, DePaul recorded marquee road wins at then-No. 11 West Virginia and then-No. 16 Notre Dame. The Blue Demons finished the 2007-08 season with a 20-12 record and went 8-8 in league play and advanced to the NCAA Championship.
During Hays-Fort's first season, the Blue Demons battled through injuries and at times had just seven healthy players on the court. Battling through adversity, DePaul made the program's 11th NCAA Tournament as the No. 10 seed and tallied 19 wins during the season.
Hays-Fort came to DePaul after four seasons as head coach at Barry University in Miami Shores, Fla., from 2002-06. After taking over the NCAA Division II program at Barry in 2002, she coached seven All-Sunshine State Conference selections, the 2004 SSC Freshman of the Year, and three other all-freshmen picks. She had 10 student-athletes named to the SSC Commissioner's Academic Honor Roll. She recruited Rebecca Segert, who became the leading rebounder and scorer with over 2,000 points at the US Merchant Marine Academy.
In her third year with the Bucs, Hays-Fort led the program to a 15-13 overall record in 2004-05. The program's 15 wins were the most since the 2000-01 season. Over her four seasons, she posted a career record of 48-65. In 2003-04, Hays-Fort led the team to a 9-5 Sunshine State Conference record, marking just the second time in 15 seasons at Barry with at least nine league victories.
The Monroe City, Mo. native served as an assistant coach at Nicholls State University for two seasons from 2000-02 and was the first head coach at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy during the 1999-00 campaign.
As a student-athlete, Hays-Fort was a two-sport letterwinner in basketball and softball at Truman State University (Mo.) before finishing her career at Culver-Stockton College (Mo.). She earned a bachelor of science in psychology and a minor in mathematics from Culver-Stockton in 1998. Hays averaged 4.1 points and 1.8 assists on the basketball court before moving to the diamond and hitting .300 as a shortstop at Culver-Stockton.
In addition to her coaching duties at Barry, Hays-Fort was also the assistant compliance coordinator. She is married to Gregg Fort, who is Assistant Vice President for University Advancement at DePaul University.
Along with her on-the-court activities with the Blue Demons, Hays-Fort is also involved with Habitat for Humanity, the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the American Heart Association Jump Rope for Heart and Misericordia. She has been a member of the Women's Sports Foundation since 2000 and the Women's Basketball Coaches Association since 1998.