Meet the Softball Coaches

Head Coach: Nic Nelson

Beginning his coaching career at Lake Land College in 2008, Coach Nelson has built a legacy with the Laker softball program. In his ten years he and his teams have made eight appearances at the NJCAA Division 1 World Series finishing fourth overall in 2017. They have made ten appearances at the NJCAA Division 1 Region 24 Tournament Championship, winning eight titles and finishing second the other two years. Coach Nelson has won seven Great Rivers Athletic Conference Championships and his teams have continuously achieved record setting seasons.

During his time, Nelson is the Winningest Softball Coach in Lake Land College history. He has also been named National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) and Region 24 Coach of the Year eight times and Great Rivers Athletic Conference (GRAC) Coach of the Year six times.

In the years Coach Nelson has been at Lake Land, the softball student-athletes have created a culture of athletic and academic success, with dozens of players being NJCAA Division 1 All-American, and the majority of his players have received NCAA Division 1 scholarships after leaving Lake Land. In addition to their athletic success, all of Coach Nelson’s teams have excelled academically with dozens of players earning an NJCAA Academic All-American recognition and a 100% graduation rate of all sophomores from Lake Land College.

Coach Nelson brings a wealth of coaching and sports administrative experience to Lake Land. He has coached softball at virtually every age level. As a member of the first softball coaching staff at Heartland College which finished third in the nation in their inaugural season and then in their second year  Heartland won the NJCAA Division 2 National Championship. He also coached at Bellflower High School, Champaign Central High School, Normal Community West High School and Parkside Junior High School. He has also served as an ASA Junior Olympic coach and in 2000 Coach Nelson became the Manager and Coach of the Mitsubishi/McDonald’s All-Stars international team, a program giving young people an opportunity to experience other cultures. He has taken 35 baseball and softball teams overseas and has coached against teams from Japan, Cuba, Mexico, Italy, Great Britain, Australia, Venezuela, France, Canada, Czechoslovakia and the Netherlands. His teams have also competed throughout the United States, including Hawaii.

Expanding his reach deeper and wider into the softball world, Coach Nelson along with Lake Land Pitching Coach Denny Throneburg, co-founded Elite Softball, a program designed to evaluate high school and junior high players and help expose these players to college programs. Coach Nelson also owned and operated 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 provided individual and group instruction and organized hitting clinics throughout the continental United States. He has also conducted hitting camps around the world including hosting clinics in Japan, Australia, England, Cuba, Spain and Hawaii. Into his 12th year as Head Coach at Lake Land, Coach Nelson’s teams have had a collective team batting average of .385 which is a testament to the effectiveness of his hitting instruction and philosophy.

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. He and his wife Miss Kathy, a special education teacher, are proud parents of three boys Nicolas, Chris and Spike and one daughter Megan, all who played baseball and softball in college. Nic and Miss Kathy also have four grandchildren who share the family passion for the diamond sports.

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