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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Central Washington University hires women's basketball coach

Shawn Nelson, who has spent the past eight seasons as the head women's basketball coach at Carroll College, has been named the next women's basketball coach at Central Washington University. Making the announcement on Tuesday was CWU director of athletics Jack Bishop.
"I am pleased that, after a comprehensive search, we have had the opportunity to hire such a quality head coach to lead our women's basketball program into the future," Bishop said. "I was most impressed with Shawn's philosophy about practice, offense, defense, and the efficiency with which it appears he handles a basketball program.

"He has shown a great ability to recruit high-quality student-athletes, an ability to recruit the Northwest, and he has a reputation to be able to teach the three-point shot and to attract numerous high school programs and players to camps, where they can learn from his expertise."

"I am very excited to be named the head women's basketball coach at Central Washington University," Nelson exclaimed. "I appreciate the support of the administration and of the search committee. I am excited about the opportunity to build a winning program (at CWU), and to be able to lead the program in the future."

Nelson, 38, compiled a 201-70 win-loss record over his eight seasons at the Helena, Mont., school. His teams won at least 27 games in each of his first five years, finishing ranked among the top 25 in the Division I of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He also became the youngest basketball coach in the history of the Frontier Conference - men's or women's - to reach the 100- and 200-win plateaus.

Nelson has spent the past 20 years affiliated with Carroll, beginning with his time as a men's basketball player for the Fighting Saints from 1991-95. He graduated from Carroll with a Bachelor of Arts in sociology in 1996, and then spent the next seven years as an assistant men's basketball coach and sports information director at the school. He then began his head coaching career with the Fighting Saints' women's basketball program in 2003-04 and guided them to a 28-7 record and number 23 national ranking.

Over the course of his coaching career with the Fighting Saints, Nelson took his teams to five consecutive NAIA Division I national tournaments, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2008. He was a two-time Frontier Conference Coach of the Year, had Carroll ranked among the NAIA top 25 during each of his eight seasons, and coached the nation's top three-point shooting team for four straight years. Two of his former players were named WBCA Kodak All-Americans.

Nelson, who is a member of the Wendy's of Montana-Carroll College Athletic Hall of Fame, is originally from Fallon, Nev., where he attended Churchill County High School. He has been married to wife Laura, a former standout track and field athlete at Montana State University, for nearly nine years. The couple has two sons, Peyton (age 5) and Cooper (3).

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