BOSTON - Jim Nelson served as Suffolk University Director of Athletics for 47 years, announcing his retirement at the end of the 2012-2013 academic year.
The Boston College graduate began his time at Suffolk in 1966 when he was named assistant director of athletics and assistant basketball coach. After nine years at the University, the former college basketball player was named athletic director and men's basketball coach in 1975. Nelson took Suffolk University to its first ever NCAA Division III Championship Tournament during the 1975-76 season. He led the Rams to two NCAA Tournament appearances as he won 210 games during his 20-year stint as head coach.
In 1995 Nelson put aside his coaching duties to focus on the administrative side of the athletics department.
In 1999-2000 Suffolk became full-time members of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC) on both the men's and women's side. Nelson watched over Suffolk University as it grew into one of the top athletic programs among NCAA DIII schools in the New England region. In his years at Suffolk, 27 Rams' teams made trips to Eastern College Athletic Conference (ECAC) DIII New England Championship tournaments.
Up until 1991, Suffolk athletics were played largely at the Cambridge YMCA where Nelson spent plenty of time during his first decade at the University. Thanks to the help of Nelson and others, Suffolk opened the doors to its first ever on-campus athletic facility, the Ridgeway Gym, in 1991.
Under his reign, the Rams won a combined 11 conference crowns, competed in 27 ECAC Division III New England Championship tournaments, winning the 2000 baseball title, and qualified for eight NCAA tournaments.
After his tenure in the athletic department, Nelson has remained closely involved within athletics and the University with the Coach James E. Nelson Endowed Scholarship.
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