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Sports Spotlight: Jack Nelson

Published: Nov. 24, 2021 at 2:23 PM CST
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BISMARCK, N.D. (KFYR) - It’s been a rough go for U-Mary basketball, but in the offseason, they took strides in combating that trend.

Jack Nelson is the new man at the helm, and he knows all too well about where he’s at.

”It’s been good. You know it’s very familiar like you said I’ve been around the area, been around the region. You know I played at St. Mary’s down in Winona, Minnesota. And then coaching in the league as an assistant at Minot State and an assistant at Sioux Falls. You know the uncomfortable part has been developing the culture and just getting the team and program rolling, and just getting everyone used to each other and on the same page,” said Nelson, U-Mary men’s basketball head coach.

Having played in high school and college, the route to being a coach seemed obvious to all but Jack.

Nelson said: “During my high school years, I didn’t really know I guess, but I was always considered a higher IQ player. Guys on my team were looking to me for further clarification on things coach was saying and stuff like that. You know, looking back on it now, that was obvious. Back then it wasn’t so obvious.”

So post-college, the career took off. In that journey he found his wife, and none of it would be possible without her.

“I’ve been really lucky to have found a wife who understands and enjoys the moves and looks at it as an adventure and not a burden,” said Nelson. “Honestly if I didn’t find her, then I wouldn’t have as many stops, and I don’t know if I would be where I am today. It’s been quite the journey, it’s seen us move a lot, but it’s been a lot of fun.”

Now coaching a program that hasn’t had a winning record since 2016, he believes success isn’t just found on the court.

“For me, this is too hard of a profession, losses are too much agony if that’s the only reason you’re doing it. Part of the reason why I love coaching is the relationships with the guys. Guys stopping in the office, watching film together, spending time together on the bus. I’ve been doing this long enough now you start to have guys call and say, ‘coach we’re having a baby,’ or ‘I’m getting married,’ or ‘I got that promotion, thank for being a reference for me.’ Those are the things that makes coaching really rewarding and really fun,” said Nelson.

He and his guys just started conference play last night and play his former team Friday in Moorhead.

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