Meet Chris Nelson, the athletic director at Summit Olympus High School. Chris was born and raised in Indianapolis, Indiana and graduated from Broad Ripple High School while lettering both in track and field, basketball and participating in JROTC. He attended Anderson University located in Anderson, Indiana for a short period before deciding to join the United States Army in 1990. He spent 24 years in the military as a Missile Technician. While in the military, Chris earned his general studies degree through online distant learning programs and courses with professors coming to the education centers on every base that he was stationed on. Chris was inspired to see the educators that volunteered their time to teach soldiers. He earned a bachelor’s of arts in criminal justice from Excelsior College and has a master’s in electrical engineering.
During his tours of duty, Chris was deployed to four combat zones and several overseas tours including in Germany and Korea and received the Outstanding Military Volunteer Service Medal. Read more about Chris below!
How did you get involved in coaching?
“While serving, all over the world, the one thing that I’ve always gravitated to was volunteerism and coaching kids in whatever sport that was being offered in that particular area. I began coaching in 1995 in Pirmasens, Germany to a bunch of kids that were just playing at the local center one day. Something in me was sparked to inform the teen center staff that I would like to build a basketball team. From that day forward, I have enjoyed training students in every sport that they choose to devote themselves to.”
What drew you to teaching at Summit Public Schools?
“First and foremost was the college preparatory based curriculum that the students receive helping them to be prepared for higher education. Another great inspiration for me was to build something within the Summit community. The faculty here at Summit Olympus supports me 150 percent and together we are seeing a positive culture being built with our students right before our eyes.”
What do you think about the Tacoma community?
“After retiring from the military at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in 2013, I decided to continue my volunteerism within Tacoma and surrounding communities. The Tacoma community has so many talented students that continue to blossom throughout local and national news everyday, one would be crazy to leave. “
What do I love most about helping students?
“I’ve had the pleasure of working with lots of great students that have moved on to the collegiate level in their passion; and it just feels great knowing that they are very appreciative of you for all that you did for them along their journey. One of the greatest feelings as a coach, teacher or mentor is watching the student athlete develop, grow and mature into a young adult right before your eyes. I wouldn’t want to do any other job in the world.”
Do you have a coach that made a positive impact in your life? Tell us your story in the comments.