Lake Land College Head Coach
Completing his third year at Lake Land College, Coach Nelson’s team had another record-setting season, concluding with a second straight appearance at the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship. Since moving into the head coaching position at Lake Land College in 2009, Coach Nelson’s teams have won two Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) and two NJCAA D1 Region 24 Tournament championships. During that time, Nelson was twice named the GRAC and the NJCAA Region 24 Coach of the Year. In his three years as the Head Softball Coach at Lake Land, his teams have a combined record of 138 wins and 30 losses.
Year in and year out, Coach Nelson’s teams are known for their ability to produce offensively, consistently finishing among the best in the nation for batting average and on-base percentage. In his tenure at Lake Land College as the offensive coach, his teams have had an impressive combined team batting average of .374.
Coach Nelson came to Lake Land College from Heartland College, where he was instrumental in helping take Heartland to a third place finish at the 2008 NJCAA Division II National Tournament in Heartland College softball’s inaugural year.
Bringing a wealth of experience to Lake Land, Coach Nelson is an instructor, coach, clinic administrator and the owner of an indoor hitting facility, The Practice Factory, with locations in Normal, Champaign and LaSalle, IL. Coach hails from Mattoon, Illinois and graduated from Mattoon High School and later Lake Land College before completing his bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University.
Coach Nelson has coached softball at every age level. He was an ASA Junior Olympic coach for many years and coached at Parkside Junior High School in Normal, Illinois. At the high school level, he has coached at Bellflower High School in Bellflower High School, Champaign Central High School and Normal Community West High School.
From 1994 to 2005, Coach Nelson was the general manager and head coach of the McDonald All Stars International Team. Cuba, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada are just some of the countries he has taken his teams to play. His McDonald All Stars teams have played against such national teams as Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Great Britain, Venezuela, France, Canada, Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands, as well as the state team of Queensland in Australia. Along with their overseas travel, Coach Nelson’s McDonald All Stars also played in tournaments all over the continental U.S. and Hawaii.
Coach Nelson also is co-founder of Elite Softball. His summers and falls are devoted to finding talented high school and junior high school softball players, systematically evaluating their skills and then helping these players improve their talents in the Elite Softball Program.
He and his wife Kathy, a special education teacher, are the proud parents of three sons and one daughter, all of whom share their family passion for the diamond sports. Sons Nicolas, Chris and Spike all played college baseball, while daughter Megan finished her four-year career as shortstop for Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. After watching their four children, Nic and Kathy are excited for their granddaughter, Manny and their new grandson, Jasiah to carry on the family tradition by playing softball and baseball.