Mens Tennis: Nelson named new head coach

John Nelson comes to Hawaii from San Diego State where he has led the Aztecs to three consecutive MWC regular season titles.

HONOLULU -University of Hawai`i athletics director Herman Frazier announced the hiring of John Nelson, after a nationwide search, as the new men's tennis head coach, Monday. Nelson replaces longtime coach Jim Schwitters, the NCAA Division I's winningest coach, who is retiring in June after 38 seasons.

Nelson just completed his 10th season at San Diego State (SDSU), where he led the Aztecs to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Overall, he guided SDSU to the NCAA Tournament in five of the past six years, including a round of 16 appearance in 2000. He was named the International Tennis Association Region VII Coach of the Year in 2000, 2002, and 2003 as well as Mountain West Conference (MWC) Coach of the Year in 2002. This past season, his Aztecs won its third consecutive MWC regular season title and second straight MWC championship after posting a 17-11 record. In 10 seasons, Nelson compiled a 129-108 mark.

Prior to SDSU, Nelson served as head coach at UC Davis (UCD) from 1988-94, where he won an NCAA Division II team title in 1990. In each of his five seasons at UCD, Nelson's teams were ranked in the Top 5 nationally. Individually he coached one singles and three doubles national championships. From 1983-88, Nelson coached at Cal State Hayward (CSUH) where he guided the Pioneers to a Top 10 national ranking each season. In 11 seasons at both schools, Nelson earned eight Northern California Athletic Conference Coach of the Year awards.

Nelson's overall NCAA record is 308-171 in 21 seasons. Nelson has coached either a singles or doubles individual NCAA champion at each school and has tutored eight Division I and 22 Division II All-Americans.

As a player, Nelson was an NCAA Division II All-American in 1978 at CSUH, where he earned a bachelor's degree in Physical Education that same year. He later earned his master's degree in Education at Stanford in 1979.

In addition, Nelson also works with Association of Tennis Professionals Top 100 player Alex Waske. Nelson is a second degree Black Belt in Jujitsu and uses martial art skills in his coaching. Nelson, 47, is married, Carol.


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