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Jeff Nelson Named New Mexico Volleyball Head Coach
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  01/29/2007
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Jan. 29, 2007

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. - University of New Mexico director of athletics Paul Krebs today announced that Jeff Nelson has been named the school's head women's volleyball coach. Nelson replaces Kelley McKee, who resigned her position Dec. 5 after five seasons at UNM.

Nelson, 43, comes to New Mexico after four seasons at the University of San Francisco where he compiled a 76-51 record, including the Dons' first NCAA Tournament appearance in 2003. Nelson has a 12-year collegiate record of 242-147, which includes eight seasons (1995-2002) and five NCAA bids as the head coach at Texas Tech.

"Jeff was a proven winner at a Big 12 school and he did a tremendous job of energizing the volleyball program at the University of San Francisco," said Krebs. "We look forward to Jeff leading the Lobos."

Nelson was a real success story at San Francisco. Prior to his arrival in 2003, the Dons had suffered 15 straight losing seasons and posted just two winning campaigns in 26 years of competition. USF's overall record from 1977-2002 was 229-494 (.316) and the program had never been to the NCAA Tournament.

In Nelson's first season, USF logged a 23-8 record, smashing the school record for single-season wins. The Dons won their first 16 matches of the season, then finished fourth in the highly-regarded West Coast Conference to earn the school's first NCAA bid. The 17-win improvement from 2002 is the greatest turnaround in the history of the WCC. USF was also ranked in the top-25 for the first time.

San Francisco was 23-10 in 2006 as it posted consecutive winning seasons for the first time in school history. The Dons were 18-12 in 2005. Despite just four years at USF, Nelson leaves as the school's all-time winningest women's volleyball coach.

"I couldn't be more excited about the position at New Mexico," said Nelson. "The opportunity to work there and have my family there is awesome. Everyone I met during my visit to Albuquerque was great. I want to thank Paul (Krebs) and the entire administration for having faith in me. I had a wonderful experience at USF. We were able to do something very special. I'm proud of the accomplishments over the past four years and wish them all the luck in the future."

Nelson had a 166-96 ledger in eight seasons at Texas Tech. He guided the Red Raiders to five 20-win seasons and five trips to the NCAA Tournament. Nelson had more tournament victories than any previous Red Raiders coach (15) and boasted a career winning percentage of .634.

Nelson produced an American Coaches Volleyball Association (AVCA) All-American (Colleen Smith), a NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship recipient and nine AVCA All-Region Team members by seven different players. Nine players earned all-conference honors, including the 2000 Big 12 Conference Defensive Player of Year as well as the 2001 Big 12 Newcomer of the Year.

During Nelson's tenure in Lubbock, his team achieved excellence in the classroom, responding with 28 Big-12 All-Academic selections. In addition, Jill Burness earned the Verizon/CoSIDA Volleyball Academic All-American of the Year award in 1996.

In addition to his impressive resume from Texas Tech, Nelson enjoyed similar success at every stop during his career both as a player and as a coach. As a volleyball player at Ball State University, his collegiate team advanced to the NCAA Final Four in 1985. He helped guide Muncie Burris High School to the 1995 Indiana State Volleyball Championship with a 42-0 record while serving as an assistant coach.

As a graduate assistant at the University of Nebraska, he was part of a program that placed runner-up at the 1986 NCAA Championships. From Nebraska, he was named assistant head coach in 1988 and head coach of the Minnesota Monarchs of Major League Volleyball for the 1989 season. He led the Monarchs to a 9-0 start in 1989 and coached the East All-Star team.

After the MLV folded, Nelson joined the University of Minnesota as an assistant coach. He helped the Golden Gophers post a 29-9 record, finish second in the Big Ten Conference and advance to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 in 1989.

Nelson was also involved with the club circuit in Minnesota. During the 1989-90 school year, he coached the Golden Spike Juniors, who placed third nationally among the U.S. Junior Olympians 18 & Under group and produced two USJO All-Americas and three high school All-Americas. Nelson also has international experience as he was named the assistant coach for the 1991 U.S. Junior National Boys team. In 1992, he coached the Junior National Boys teams to the Canada Cup Challenge championship.

In 1993, Nelson was the assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic Festival women's North Team that won a bronze medal in San Antonio. He was assistant coach of the U.S. Olympic Festival men's West Team in St. Louis in 1994. That same year he coached the Sun Devil Volleyball Club team to runner-up honors in the U.S. Women's Open Championships, where three team members were selected as All-Americas.

From 1990 to 1995, Nelson helped Arizona State earn three NCAA appearances (1992-93-94) - including a pair of Sweet Sixteen showings - and one NIVC berth (1990). During his five years as recruiting coordinator, Nelson signed four high school All-Americans. He also doubled as the Arizona State men's club team coach where he guided the Sun Devils to three Cactus Region championships and three Top 10 national finishes. Nelson produced five All-Americans and one USA Open All-America, placed seventh in the U.S. Open and hosted the 1994 National Club championships. His 1994 club team posted a 68-5 record and was ranked as high as No. 2 in the nation.

Nelson was also active in youth club volleyball at Arizona State. From 1992 to 1995 Nelson coached the 18 & Under East Valley Volleyball Club to the 1994 and 1995 Cactus Region championship and reached the USJO Final 16 at the USA National Championships.

Twenty-three of his former club athletes received Division I scholarships, three were selected as Junior National team members, while five were named high school All-Americans. Nelson also served on the Cactus Region Board of Directors from 1992 to 1995 and the Sun Country Region Board from 2001-2003.

A native of Austin, Minn., Nelson received his bachelor's of arts degree from Ball State in 1986, after attending Austin Community College. He played setter, outside hitter and defensive specialist for the Cardinals.

Nelson has served on the AVCA Top-25 Poll committee for the past nine seasons. He also chaired the AVCA All-Central Region and the AVCA All-America Committee.

Nelson has two sons, Harley and Kaden.

Jeff Nelson Head Coaching Career

YearSchoolAllConf.PlacePostseason
1995Texas Tech21-124-6---NCAA 2nd Round
1996Texas Tech25-912-86thNCAA 1st Round
1997Texas Tech23-1110-107th
1998Texas Tech23-1112-8T5thNCAA 1st Round
1999Texas Tech18-157-138th
2000Texas Tech24-912-8T5thNCAA 1st Round
2001Texas Tech18-149-11T6thNCAA 1st Round
2002Texas Tech14-159-11T7th
2003San Francisco23-87-74thNCAA 1st Round
2004San Francisco12-204-106th
2005San Francisco18-134-106th
2006San Francisco23-106-8T4th
Totals12 years242-14796-110---6 NCAA Tournaments
Saturday, August 23
7:00 PM - 
Volleyball
vs. Lobo Alumnae (Exhibition)
Friday, August 29
10:30 AM - 
Volleyball
at Texas vs. UTEP
1:00 PM - 
Volleyball
vs. Seattle U
5:00 PM - 
Volleyball
at UTEP vs. Seattle U
7:30 PM - 
Volleyball
vs. Texas
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