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 as a Lake Land College coach his teams have a combined record of 502 wins and 125 losses, making Nelson 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 ten years Coach Nelson has been at Lake Land, 19 players have been selected as an NJCAA Division 1 All-American. As of 2019, 64 of his players have signed NCAA Division 1 scholarships. All ten teams have earned the Academic All-American title with 39 players recognized as an NJCAA Academic All-American.
Coach Nelson brings a wealth of coaching and sports administrative experience to Lake Land. He has coached softball at virtually every age level. While working on the coaching staff at Heartland College his first team finished third in the nation and his second year at 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/McDonalds 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, which he still does today.
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.