Holy Cross Names Brett Nelson Head Men’s Basketball Coach

Nelson becomes the 18th head coach in the history of the program
July 9th, 2019 by 


(From left) Brett Nelson is welcomed as the new head men's basketball coach by Marcus Blossom, athletics director, at an on-campus press conference. Photo by Avanell Brock

Holy Cross Director of Athletics Marcus Blossom has named Brett Nelson as the Crusaders’ next head men’s basketball coach. Nelson becomes the 18th head coach in the history of the program, joining Holy Cross after spending the last five seasons on the coaching staff at Marquette University.

“We are thrilled to welcome Brett and Jamie Nelson and their son, Eli, to Mount St. James,” said Blossom. “Brett is a dynamic competitor who is a proven winner as a player and coach. He has played for and coached with some of the best coaches in college basketball and has a proven track record of recruiting and developing student-athletes of character who will excel in the classroom and on the court.”

For the last five years, including two seasons as associate head coach, Nelson has helped Marquette develop into one of the top programs in the Big East. The Golden Eagles have posted an overall record of 97-69 during that time, with two trips to the NCAA Tournament and one to the National Invitation Tournament.

“I wanted a coach that didn’t shy away from high expectations and shared my vision for this basketball program, which is to be the best in the Patriot League, one of the most respected in the country, and one that consistently competes for and wins championships,” Blossom shared during a press conference held at the College on July 9. “Brett certainly shares that vision.”

Joined by his wife, Jamie, and their son, Eli, Nelson discussed the opportunity to lead an historic program on Mount St. James.

“I’m both honored and humbled for this opportunity to be the head coach at Holy Cross,” Nelson said. “For me, this past week has been a whirlwind. I couldn’t be more excited to lead this storied program. When you think about all the former great players, 13 NCAA tournament appearances, 24 draft picks — this place has amazingly rich history.”

“Today is not about me — it’s about these current players, the former players, the fans, the alumni, this Holy Cross community. I promise that you’re going to get my absolute best each and every day. I hope to bring value to this team, to this school, and to this community in everything that I do.”

Prior to his time at Marquette, Nelson spent one season as the associate head coach at Ball State University in 2013-2014. He was previously an assistant coach at Drake University for two seasons, with the Bulldogs tying for third in the Missouri Valley Conference and advancing to the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2011-2012.

Nelson served as an assistant coach at Arkansas in 2010-2011, helping the Razorbacks to a third-place finish in the SEC Western Division, and was an assistant coach at Marshall from 2007-2010, with the Thundering Herd going 24-10 and earning a berth in the CollegeInsider.com Tournament in 2009-2010.

Before landing his first coaching position, Nelson served as the director of basketball operations at Virginia Commonwealth University in 2006-2007 and Colorado State University in 2005-2006.

Nelson, a former McDonald’s All-American, joined the coaching ranks after a successful playing career at the University of Florida, where he was a three-year starter for the Gators and a member of four NCAA tournament teams, including the 2000 squad that reached the national championship game. At the time of his graduation, Nelson ranked first in school history in 3-pointers made (274) and attempted (689), second in steals (198) and 14th in points scored (1,417). He was a two-time All-SEC selection in addition to earning third team All-America honors in 2001.

After graduating in 2004 with a B.A. in sociology, Nelson went on to play professionally in Sweden.

For more information, visit GoHolyCross.com.

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