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JHU head coach Bill Nelson to retire at 49-year coaching career

After 31 years as the head coach of the Johns Hopkins Blue Jays men’s basketball team, Bill Nelson has announced that he will retire at the end of the current academic year.

“With mixed emotions, I have decided to retire as the head men’s basketball coach at Johns Hopkins University,” Nelson said in a press release. “My wife, Margaret, and our daughters, Laura and Katie, have called Hopkins our second home for the last 31 years. As I’ve often said, I have lived my dream and much more. Coaching at the college level for 49 years has been a dream come true.”

Nelson is the winningest coach in Johns Hopkins men’s basketball history. Over the course of his career at Johns Hopkins, he has 501 victories, 25 winning seasons, three Centennial Conference Championship and 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. Over the course of his entire collegiate coaching career, that also included 15 years at RIT and three years at Nazareth, Nelson is 606-365 (.624), ranking 17th in NCAA Division III history. He is 5-10312 (.616) with the Blue Jays.

“To be easily the most identifiable person in a program that is nearly 100 years old says as much about the person that is Bill Nelson as it does about the success he enjoyed as our head men’s basketball coach,” Johns Hopkins Director of Athletics and Recreation Alanna Shanahan said. “Yes, he built a program that produced victories and championships, but he also built a family of Blue Jay basketball players who continue to be a vibrant part of the program and University long after they’ve graduated. We have been fortunate to have Bill Nelson as our men’s basketball coach and we are truly thankful to him for a career of service to Johns Hopkins University.”

Nelson had coaches 71 all-conference players, three Centennial Conference Players of the Year, two All-Americans and one Jostens Trophy winner while at Johns Hopkins. Eight of his players have been inducted into the Johns Hopkins Athletic Hall of Fam, which Nelson himself joined in 2015. He was named the Centennial Conference and NABC Mid-Atlantic Coach of the Year twice.

Among the standouts to play under Nelson are Andy Enfield ’91 and George Bugarinovic ’15. Enfield is the current head coach at the University of Southern California and once took No. 15 seed Florid Gulf Coach on a miraculous Sweet 16 run. Bugarinovic was the school’s first Jostens Trophy winner in 2015. He has produced 20 CoSIDA Academic All-District honorees, seven CoSIDA Academic All-Americans and five NCAA Postgraduate Scholars.

“I’ve had the opportunity to coach some amazing young men who not only made a name for themselves on the court but also have been extremely successful upon graduation in a number of different fields, including the coaching profession,” Nelson said. “My hope was always that our players would have a valuable and positive four-year experience at Hopkins, not only on the hardwood but also in the classroom and socially. I think we have succeeded.”

Nelson graduated from SUNY Brockport in 1965 and earned his master’s degree from Oregon. If began his coaching career as an assistant at Rochester Insitute of Technology for 12 years before taking over as the head coach in 1980. After 15 years he moved on to Nazareth for three years, and there he coaches former NBA head coach, Jeff Van Gundy, before settling in Baltimore in 1986 to coach the Blue Jays.

Nelson will officially step down on June 30 at the end of the academic year. The Blue Jays will conduct a national search for his successor.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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