High school: St. Francis High School in Wheaton, Illinois
Number of years coaching: 27 years
Accomplishments: Coached 11 state champions with four state records, numerous all-state athletes, earned 55 conference titles, 18 regional titles, 13 sectional titles with 43 teams earning a spot in the state finals, was named “Coach of the Year” by the Daily Herald, Press Publications, Illinois Track and Cross Country Coaches Association, and Illinois Girls’ Coaches Association. The 2000 and 2001 Girls St. Francis Cross Country teams finished 2nd in the state meet and the 2004 St. Francis Boys Cross Country team finished 3rd in the State meet.
What makes Coach Scott Nelson so inspiring?
As a former athlete fondly says “he isn’t just a coach, but also a mentor and teacher to his athletes.” The application goes on to state “he not only has coached numerous all-state athletes, but turned around many lives. He has mentored many kids through tough family situations, tutored kids to help with grades, and even let an athlete live with him.” This story is one of the things that make Scott Nelson so inspiring. During his first year as a head coach, there was a very gifted runner on his team. As the season progressed, Coach Nelson saw changes in the athlete. He found out the runner was having problems at home, and those problems continued to grow. To make a long story short, there became a point where the athlete felt like he didn’t have anything to go home to, so Coach Nelson invited the athlete to live with him and his family. That action turned the athlete’s life around as he began to excel in school, running, and as a person. As the nominator said, “he is not only a coach to many, but a father to many as well.”