Before Redlands, Niehues led the USAO Drovers women's basketball program from 2001-2008. Niehues collected 50 wins faster than any other coach in the program’s three decade history. In his second season at USAO, Niehues finished with a 23-14 record and the Drovers first appearance in the NAIA tournament. The next season also ended with a Final Four appearance and 20-win season, a first in the program's history. Prior to his time at USAO, he spent five seasons at his alma mater Southern Nazarene University as a women's assistant coach. During that time, the Crimson Storm posted a 121-22 record and won two national championships. A two-time all-conference player at SNU, Niehues was a three-year starter and eighth in career scoring. Niehues graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from SNU in 1990 and received his master's degree in education from SNU in 1997. He has also played four years of professional basketball in France and Brazil, as well as two years as a member of the Conoco Oilers exhibition team.