From Emory University Athletics
Emory University head track and field coach John Curtin has announced the appointment of Derek Nelson as assistant coach. His primary responsibilities focusing on sprints, hurdles and horizontal jumps.
Nelson joins the Eagles’ program after spending the past two years as a volunteer assistant coach at the University of Illinois, where he worked with the program’s sprinters, hurdlers and jumpers. He helped mentor five All-America performers, 12 NCAA Regional qualifiers, three Big Ten champions and a dozen All-Big Ten honorees. He was actively involved in a variety of areas within the Fighting Illini program, including recruiting, academic support and strength and conditioning. During his time in Champaign, he also served as a Student Services Advisor at Parkland College.
Prior to his stint at Illinois, Nelson spent two campaigns on the coaching staff at North Central College, where he oversaw the instruction of sprinters, hurdlers, javelin and multis across the men’s and women’s programs. In 2016 he played a key role in guiding four individual athletes and two relays to the NCAA D-III Championships. From that group came the national champ in the women’s indoor 60-meter hurdles, the runner-up in the 100 hurdles and a total of five All-America awards. While coaching at North Central, Nelson also served as the graduate assistant for the career center and interned with athletic department as the promotions coordinator.
“We feel very fortunate to have a coach of Derek’s caliber join our program and carry on the strong traditions of our sprint, hurdle and jump group,” Curtin said. “As a two-year team captain and three time All-American hurdler/sprinter at Division III power North Central College, Derek knows what it takes to be successful on our level. His coaching record at both North Central and from his most recent position at the University of Illinois highlight Coach Nelson’s knowledge of the sport and his leadership qualities. We can’t wait to get him out on the track with our kids.”
A native of Davis, California, Nelson transferred from Ripon College to North Central College where he graduated in 2014 with a bachelor’s degree in sports management. In his two years at NCC, he served as the track and field team captain, competed in seven NCAA Championship meets and earned 3 All-America awards. While at Ripon, he played football and competed in track and field, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in the 400 hurdles. He obtained his master’s degree in higher education administration from North Central in 2016.
Nelson holds the USTFCCCA Jumps Specialists Certification.