Rod Nichols was born Dec. 29, 1964 in Burlington, Iowa. He played baseball at Highland High School, where he was an all-state shortstop in 1982. He was a three year Letterman at UNM. Rod was drafted in the 5th round by the Cleveland Indian in 1985. He made his major league debut on July 30, 1988. He pitched in 100 games over 7 seasons. He was the first UNM baseball player to play in the major leagues. His career took him to the Dodgers where he played at AAA for the Albuquerque Dukes. He may be the only player from New Mexico, who played a high school, college, and pro game at the old Sports Stadium. He finished his major league career in 1995 with the Atlanta Bravenmens. He also played one season in Japan for the Fukuoka Daiei Hawks in 1997.
Since retiring from baseball he has worked as a the Phillies Triple A minor league pitching coach for the Reading Phillies, the Scranton Red Barons, the Ottawa Lynx and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs before being named the bullpen coach for the Philadelphia Phillies before the 2013 season, where he coached until 2015.