Nelson To Receive NABC Division III Outstanding Service Award
By Jill Guise
Assistant Director of Athletic Communications
Nelson, along with Mark Edwards (Washington University) and Bob Schlosser (Elizabethtown) will receive the 22nd annual award on Friday, March 30 at the NABC Division III coaches meeting during the annual convention in San Antonio, TX. These awards recognize those who have contributed significantly “inside and outside the lines” of coaching as distinguished members of their communities.
Since 1919, Johns Hopkins University’s first season of men’s basketball, only one coach has led the Blue Jays for more than 10 seasons, for more than 75 wins and a winning percentage over .526. That one coach is Nelson, who became the program’s winningest coach just two games into his sixth season at Hopkins. Two years earlier, he had guided the Blue Jays to their first 20-win season and their second NCAA tournament berth, the first of five straight for Hopkins.
Over his 31 seasons in Baltimore, Nelson’s teams had seven seasons with 20 or more wins, including a program record 25-5 in 2015. He led the Blue Jays to a 501-312 won-lost record and a .616 winning percentage before retiring at the conclusion of the 2016-17 season.
Nelson helped his players earn 71 all-conference awards including three Centennial Conference Player of the Year honors, two All-America awards and one Jostens Trophy recipient. A two-time Centennial Conference Coach of the Year and two-time NABC Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year, he was inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fame in 2015. Eight of his former players have also been inducted into the University’s Hall of Fame. As well as the Blue Jays performed on the court, seven earned CoSIDA Academic All-America awards, five garnered NCAA postgraduate scholarships and one Walter Byers scholarship.
Nelson began his coaching career at Rochester Institute of Technology before moving on to Nazareth College. Over a 37-year career as a head coach, his teams won 606 games to rank 17th all-time for NCAA Division III coaches.