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Nelson to guide Briar Cliff Men’s Hoops Program

March 17, 2011

Briar Cliff Director of Athletics Steve Gast has announced that Nic Nelson will succeed Todd Barry as the men’s basketball coach at Briar Cliff University. 

“We feel incredibly fortunate to have a quality coach and person like Nic ready to assume the leadership of this program,” said Gast.  “Todd has done a fantastic job preparing Nic for this challenge.  We anticipate an exciting future for our men’s basketball program and look forward to watching Nic develop into a great head coach.”

Nelson just finished up his fourth season as an assistant coach with the Charger basketball program.  In four seasons, Nelson has helped the Chargers to a 91-38 record and a pair of national tournament appearances.  The Chargers have regularly contended for the conference crown and have been a regular in the NAIA Div. II Men’s Basketball Top 25 Polls.  This past season, the Chargers were ranked as high as No. 4 in the nation, qualified for the national tournament and finished with a record of 23-9.

“I am really excited about this opportunity,” said Nelson.  “Briar Cliff is an excellent university with a great basketball tradition.  My goal is to build on the legacy that has been established over the years from Coach (Ray) Nacke through Coach (Todd) Barry.”

Nelson takes over the program from Barry, who produced a record of 139-80 in seven seasons.  The 2010-11 campaign was the program’s 45th season of competition.  The program has produced 821 victories, 35 winning seasons, 18 national tournament appearances and four National Basketball Association draft picks. 

“I am very thankful for the opportunity to have worked for Coach Barry these past four years, and I learned a great deal from him.  I would also like to thank President (Beverly) Wharton and Steve Gast for giving me the opportunity to continue to be a part of the Briar Cliff family,” said Nelson.

Nelson came to Briar Cliff from Central College, where he served as an assistant coach for three seasons.  There, he assisted in making the program competitive within the Iowa Conference and helped the Dutch to their best record and conference finish in more than a decade.  With the entire starting five he helped recruit to Central leading the way, the Dutch won the 2009-10 regular season and conference tournament championship for the first time in fifteen years.  Prior to Central, Nelson was the varsity boys’ basketball coach at Ogden High School, where he guided the Bulldogs to a record of 39-10 over two years. Following the 2003-04 season, he was tabbed as the Mid-Iowa Coach of the Year.  During the 2000-01 season, he served as the sophomore boys’ coach at Sioux City West High School.

The 2001 Morningside graduate was a four-year baseball letterwinner for the Mustangs.  The two-time team MVP went on to play two seasons of professional baseball, including a season with the Sioux City Explorers in 2000.  The former four-sport standout at Central Lyon High School holds a master’s degree in health science from Fort Hays State University.  Nelson and his wife, Michelle, reside in Sioux City with their two daughters, Grace and Claire.

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