Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of five features about female student-athletes and alums of Niles West highlighting their journeys as female athletes.
Whether she’s helping out in the weight room, coaching the freshman girl’s basketball team, or being a substitute teacher for the day, Niles West alum Nicole Moy is constantly looking to give back to the school through athletics.
Moy doesn’t feel that being a female coach holds her back; instead, it puts her at an advantage since she is able to connect to female students in a way male coaches may not be able to.
“Growing up, I probably had about two female coaches. I think it’s great [being a female coach] because I can be a role model but I can also relate to them [females] a little bit better than the male coaches,” Moy said. “High school is such a good time for change and building the foundation of students. I think that’s my main goal: to build these athletes as people. To go out to college or the next step, to make an impact whether that’s in sports or just in general.”
As a previous student of Niles West, Moy loves working at West because she feels only open arms and welcomed. She also gets to see how the school and students have evolved over time.
“It’s cool to come back to somewhere that I grew up. Somewhere where people invested in me to invest myself into, ” Moy said. “You’re doing what you love and you get to transfer your skill to someone else. I think that’s the most rewarding part about my job.”
One of Moy’s former basketball players, Jennifer Oribello, learned a lot from having her as a coach, and she also thinks of Moy as a friend.
“In many ways, Nicole Moy is a good coach. She always pushed the players to improve as individuals and created a family atmosphere that boosted our team chemistry,” Oribello said. “She’s also someone that you can be comfortable with and treat as a friend.”
Moy’s coworker Fernando Perez admires all the hard work she puts in towards the student athletes at Niles West. He believes she has the right experience to do her job well.
“She has a genuine way about her. She doesn’t look at [if someone is] male or female. She goes up to the athlete and she works with the athlete. For me, that’s everything. She puts in the effort on a regular basis. She understands the kids, she understands the school. To sum it up, she really just has a very level way about her,” Perez said. “From what I can see, there isn’t a part of her that isn’t engaged when working with the athlete. Her experience, as an athlete, kinda helps her out with that.”
Coach Perez also explains the positive impact Moy is making by being a female figure in the weight room.
“When you have a woman like her coming into an environment like this, it sends a message that we’re all here for one reason and there’s no defining anything here,” Perez said.