When you have a list of accomplishments such as five State Titles, sixteen Conference Titles, 520 wins and counting, and you are the all time leader in victories for a junior college coach in Wisconsin, it is hard to find one crowning achievement. For UW-Waukesha Men’s Basketball Coach Neal Nelson, his recent induction into the Hall of Fame for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association is what he calls his greatest athletic accomplishment.
On October 13th, Nelson met with twenty other inductees to have his legacy cemented in the WBCA Hall of Fame. “The others honored that night had incredible resumes. I’m in great company to be in this group,” said Nelson, one of three college coaches honored at the ceremony. “I received a Super Bowl sized ring and a very nice plaque.” Nelson was able to share this wonderful day with 55 members of his family, friends, former high school teammates, and former coaches.
“It was the capper of my 30 year career at UW-Waukesha,” said Nelson, who will be retiring after this year. In addition to his success as a basketball coach at UW-Waukesha, Nelson also coaches tennis and golf for the school, is the Athletic Director, and is a professor of physical education. Nelson clearly has been staying busy in his thirty years at the school.
With the season approaching quickly, Nelson has once again put his focus on the upcoming basketball season. With five State Titles, sixteen Conference Titles, and 520 victories under his belt, Nelson is hoping to add to each of those statistics. With a strong core of returning players, it is hard to doubt what Nelson and his team will be capable of. Look for the Cougars to repeat their success of last year and win their second straight State Title.
“I certainly have to thank all my former players, assistant coaches, my colleague Jack Hervert and the Administration at UW-W over the past 30 years. They have always provided strong support,” said Nelson of all the support he has received through his years at UW-Waukesha. With the support of all the people in the past and now in the present, Nelson certainly has made many people associated with the school very proud.
Winning one State Title is an accomplishment in itself. Coach Neal Nelson has five. Winning a Conference Title every four years is a great success. Coach Nelson has been able to win sixteen in thirty years. To win 500 games is something coaches usually only dream about. For Coach Neal Nelson this is a reality. If there is anyone who is deserving of being in the Hall of Fame, it certainly is Neal Nelson.
Story by: Jim Marose
Photos by: Abe Van Dyke