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Brett Nelson
Position: Assistant Coach
Hometown: St. Albans, W.V.
Alma Mater: Florida
Graduating Year: 2004
Email: brett.nelson@drake.edu
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Nelson Videos

Brett Nelson enters his second season with the Bulldogs' program in 2012-13 after being named an assistant coach on May 26, 2011. Nelson is in his eighth season in the coaching ranks after an All-America playing career at Florida.

"Brett is a talented and experienced basketball coach with a commitment to excellence and high-level integrity and character," said Drake head coach Mark Phelps, upon Nelson's hire. "He excels in all aspects of the profession, including on-the-floor coaching and skill instruction, scouting and game preparation, mentoring and recruiting. Brett's high-level playing experience, instinctive basketball savvy and IQ, and his terrific all-around personality will serve our players and our program extremely well. We are very happy to welcome Brett, Jamie and Eli into the Drake family."

In his first season with the program, Nelson helped guide the Bulldogs to their second-highest conference finish (tied for third) since 1986, and a victory in the postseason for the first time since 1975. Two Bulldogs were named second-team All-Missouri Valley Conference (Ben Simons and Rayvonte Rice), and Simons was named captain of the MVC's Most Improved Team.

Nelson joined Phelps' staff at Drake after spending the 2010-11 season at Arkansas. With Nelson on staff in his sixth coaching season and fourth as a bench coach, the Razorbacks finished 18-13, tied for third place in the SEC Western Division.

"I'm very excited to be part of the family of Drake University," Nelson said on joining the program. "Coach Phelps has a vision and a clear plan for Drake basketball. The future is very bright under his direction, and that of (Athletic Director) Sandy Hatfield Clubb. The commitment is there to do some special things and take the Bulldogs to the next level."

In his one season at Arkansas, Nelson played a strong role in the recruitment of one of the nation's top 10 incoming classes. The 2011-12 Razorbacks class included five players ranked in the top 106 in the country by ESPN.

Nelson was hired at Arkansas May 20, 2010, after a two-month stay at Central Florida, where he was to continue working under head coach Donnie Jones, with whom he coached at Marshall from 2007-10. 

In the final season of his three-year run with the Thundering Herd, Nelson helped lead the team to a 24-10 finish in 2009-10 and a postseason win in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament.  The post-season appearance was the first for a Marshall team in 22 years and its 11-5 record and third-place finish in Conference USA, was the best since 2000-01.

The time at Marshall also developed Nelson's skills as gifted recruiter. He was instrumental in the recruitment and development of Marshall's Hassan Whiteside, who was named C-USA freshman and defensive player of the year. Whiteside led the nation in blocked shots in his one season at Marshall with 182, the fourth-best single-season total in NCAA history. Whiteside was selected after his freshman year 33rd overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2010 NBA Draft. Nelson's tutelage also attracted multiple All-C-USA players and a sixth-man of the year award winner.

Prior to coaching at Marshall, Nelson served as Director of Operations at Virginia Commonwealth (2006-07) and Colorado State (2005-06).  His VCU tenure included a 28-7 record and first round NCAA Tournament victory over Duke while working with current Alabama head coach Anthony Grant.

As a player, Nelson made himself into one of the best in Florida's history, leading the Gators to a Final Four and placing himself in the record books numerous times. A three-year starter, Nelson completed his career as Florida's school record-holder in three-point baskets made and attempted and ranked second on the all-time charts in steals, fifth in steals per game, sixth in assists and assists per game and 14th in scoring with 1,416 points.  He was a two-time winner of Florida's Most Improved Player Award and was second in the voting for the conference's most valuable player his freshman year.

Nelson was named a preseason semifinalist for the Naismith Award as a senior in 2002-03 and was an ESPN.com third-team and Associated Press Honorable Mention All-American in 2000-01.  He was recognized as an all-region player by both the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) and the United States Basketball Writer's Association (USBWA) during the 2000-01 season and repeated the honor with the NABC/Pontiac in 2001-02.  He is also just one of three Florida players to earn back-to-back SEC Player of the Week awards on Feb. 26 and March 4, 2001, and was named to the 2000 NCAA Tournament All-East Regional team.

Nelson completed his collegiate eligibility in the winter of 2003 and stayed at Florida to finish his bachelor's degree in sociology in 2004. He played one season of professional basketball in Sweden in 2005 before returning to the United States to start his coaching career.

Nelson and his wife Jamie have a son, Eli, turning 2 in September 2012.