Lake Land College Head Coach
Completing his seventh year at Lake Land College, Coach Nelson’s team had another record-setting season, concluding with a fifth appearance at the NJCAA Division 1 National Championship in six years. Since moving into the head coaching position at Lake Land College in 2009, Coach Nelson’s teams have won Five Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) Championships and five NJCAA D1 Region 24 Tournament championships. During that time, Nelson was five times named the GRAC and five times named the NJCAA Division One Region 24 Coach of the Year. In his seven years as the Head Softball Coach at Lake Land, his teams have a combined record of 347 wins and 74 losses. Prior to assuming the head coaching position at Lake Land College, Coach Nelson worked on the coaching staff at Heartland College in Normal, Illinois, helping guide the Hawks, in their first year of competition, to a third place finish at the 2008 NJCAA Division II National Tournament. Coach Nelson brings a wealth of coaching and sports administrative experience to Lake Land. He owns and operates The Practice Factory, an indoor hitting facility with locations in Normal, Champaign, and LaSalle, Illinois. In addition to managing the business aspects of The Practice Factory, he provides individual and group instruction, and he organizes hitting clinics. A native of Mattoon, Illinois, Coach Nelson graduated from Mattoon High School. He began his college education at Lake Land College and completed his bachelor’s degree at Illinois State University. Coach Nelson has coached softball at virtually 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 coached at 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. His teams traveled wide and far, including visits to Cuba, Australia, Japan, Great Britain, New Zealand and Canada. During these visits, his McDonald All-Star teams played against an impressive array of talent, including the national teams of Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Great Britain, Venezuela, France, Canada, Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands, as well as the state team of Queensland in Australia. In addition to their competitive excursions overseas, Coach Nelson’s McDonald All-Stars played in tournaments all over the continental United States and in Hawaii. Expanding his reach deeper and wider into the softball world, Coach Nelson co-founded Elite Softball, a program designed to evaluate junior high and high school players for the purpose of introducing players to college programs at every level of NCJAA, NAIA, and NCAA competition. Nelson devotes his summers and falls to scheduling, staffing, and managing Elite Softball showcases. Coach Nelson and his wife, Kathy, a special education teacher, are the proud parents of three sons and one daughter, all of whom share a family passion for the diamond sports. Sons Nicolas, Chris and Spike all played college baseball. Their daughter, Megan, had a standout career as a shortstop at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois. Megan, following her father’s example, has extended her love for the game by coaching high school softball in California. After watching their four children thrive on the competition and the life lessons gained on softball and baseball fields, Nic and Kathy are eager to see if their granddaughter, Manny, and their grandsons, Jasiah, Neko will take the family diamond tradition into the next generation.