After leading the University of Hawaiʻi’s men’s tennis program for 16 years, head coach John Nelson has announced his retirement.
“We are grateful for what Coach Nelson has done for our men's tennis program,” Athletics Director David Matlin said. "He's had an outstanding coaching career and took our program to new heights. We wish him well in his retirement!”
Since taking the helm in 2003, Nelson has rebuilt the program and instilled a winning culture in the team. In 2008, he led the team to its first ever WAC Tournament Title, with wins over Idaho, Boise State, and Fresno State in the quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals respectively. For his efforts, Nelson was rewarded with the 2008 WAC Coach of the Year award. In 2009, Nelson and the men’s tennis team repeated the feat, defeating Idaho, Fresno State, and ultimately Boise State to repeat as WAC champions. The 2009 tennis team also picked up the program’s first ever NCAA Tournament win with a 4-3 first-round decision over Oklahoma State. In 2010, the program won its third consecutive WAC title, defeating Fresno State in the finals as Nelson netted his second WAC Coach of the Year award. In just its second season as part of the Big West Conference, the 2014 ‘Bows won the regular season conference title before ultimately falling just one game shy of the tournament title and an automatic bid to another NCAA Tournament.
Now at the conclusion of his 16-year stay at UH, Nelson has led the men’s tennis team to three WAC titles, one Big West title, and four NCAA Tournament appearances while coaching 41 all-conference players, with 29 league singles honors and 15 all-conference accolades for doubles teams.
“I have been blessed having a career doing what I love to do,” Nelson said. “The best memories are the friends and relationships I’ve made while coaching. The future for UH men’s tennis is very bright.”