Effective March 4, local tennis pro Sam Nelson took over the role of head men’s and women’s tennis coach at Concordia University. The move allows six-year head coach Amy Harms to focus more of her efforts on her position as the university’s Director of Strength and Conditioning in addition to her roles as assistant women’s basketball coach and as a HHP instructor.
“I am very excited about the opportunity that lies in front of this program,” Nelson said. “I feel that this will be a very positive experience with great educators, a good student-athlete atmosphere and wonderful facilities. I am really looking forward to what the future brings for Concordia tennis.”
Nelson, currently the Director of Tennis at Hillcrest Country Club in Lincoln, began working with the Bulldog men and women at practices over the past two weeks. The Lincoln East High School product brings many years of high-level teaching experience to the profession having been USPTA certified for 11 years.
“We are excited to welcome Sam to Concordia University,” Director of Athletics Devin Smith said. “His background of extensive tennis teaching experience speaks for itself. His hiring has many benefits in that we get a coach who we know will positively impact our tennis programs, while lightening the burden on Amy. I look forward to working with Sam and watching him as he helps grow Concordia tennis.”
Nelson has served as the Director of Tennis at Hillcrest since 2007 and is also a teaching professional at the Lincoln Racquet Club. In addition, he has held positions as the Head of Junior Development at the Lincoln Racquet Club (1999-2008), Director of Tennis at the Nebraska Tennis Center (2008-09), Head Teaching Professional at the Nebraska Tennis Center (2009-2011) and Nebraska 14’s team coach (2007).
As a player, Nelson competed at No. 1 singles and doubles at Barton Junior College in Great Bend, Kan. As a prep at Lincoln East, he led the Spartans to four team state championships from 1991-95 and was a two-time individual state champion. In 1990 he received the Nebraska Junior of the Year award and rose as high as No. 5 in singles and No. 2 in doubles in the Missouri Valley five-state region, which includes Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska, Oklahoma and parts of Illinois.
Nelson and his wife Amber have two children: Hunter (five) and Sevaya (three months).