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Mark Nelson
  Mark Nelson

Co-Defensive Coordinator/Defensive Line


1st year

Mark Nelson is in his first season at Tulsa and serves as co-defensive coordinator and defensive line coach.

He came to Tulsa from Baylor University, where he has spent the past three seasons as a defensive coach and special teams coordinator. He has coached the linebackers the past two seasons, while coaching the defensive ends in 2003.

At Baylor, Nelson's special team units have ranked among the nation's leaders in various categories. Baylor ranked among the top-30 in four team special teams categories -- kickoff returns (14th), net punting (16th), kickoff return defense (21st) and punt returns (29th) -- in 2005.

Prior to his stint at Baylor, Nelson coached two seasons at Kentucky. He was the tight ends coach in 2001 and coached the defensive ends in 2002. Nelson also served as special teams coordinator for both seasons. In 2002, his special team units set or tied five NCAA records, nine Southeastern Conference marks and 10 school records.

Nelson spent the 2000 campaign as the defensive coordinator and defensive secondary coach at Arkansas Tech. Tech went 7-3, including a win over Delta State, the only loss suffered by the eventual NCAA Division II national champion. Before that, he spent three seasons (1997-99) coaching at Valdosta State, where he served as assistant head coach in his final two years.

During his tenure, Nelson served as Valdosta State's defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. He also served as interim head coach from October until the end of the 1999 season. Under his tutelage, his defenses ranked among the best in the Gulf South Conference each year, and ranked 13th nationally in 1998.

In his career as a collegiate assistant coach, two of his players have earned national special teams honors, while others have earned conference awards. Kentucky's Glen Pakulak was selected the 2002 Mosi Tatupu Award winner as the National Special Teams Player of the Year, and in 2004, Daniel Sepulveda was named the Ray Guy Award winner.

In 2002, Kentucky's Derek Abney was named the SEC Special Teams Player of the Year. Nelson coached the 2003 (Robert Quiroga) and 2004 (Willie Andrews) Big XII Return Specialists.

Nelson spent five seasons (1992-96) coaching in the Canadian Football League. He spent one year each with the Toronto Argonauts and the San Antonio Texans, and three seasons with the Edmonton Eskimos. In 1993, Edmonton won the Grey Cup Championship and he was selected as the league's Special Teams Coach of the Year. In his one-year stint at Toronto, the Argonauts also won the Grey Cup Championship in 1996.

Before that, he spent five years (1987-91) coaching at Independence Community College, including one year as defensive line coach, four seasons as defensive coordinator and linebacker coach and also the final two seasons as head coach.

Nelson began his coaching career on the prep level in Oklahoma, when he was the defensive line coach and special teams coordinator at Choctaw High School in 1986.

A 1980 graduate of East Central Oklahoma, Nelson went on to a career in the Canadian Football League, playing for the Calgary Stampeders for six seasons (1980-85) and spent one year (1986) with the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

Nelson, 50 (7-25-56), earned his bachelor's degree in Education from East Central, and received a master's of science in 1988 from Pittsburg (Kan.) State.

He and his wife, Lori, have three children: sons, Kyle and Kolton, and daughter, Kayli.

Alma Mater: East Central `80
Birthdate: July 25, 1956
Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
College Coaching Experience: 14 years (1997-2005 at Four-year Schools; 1987-91 at Junior College). Entering first year at Tulsa
Professional Coaching Experience: 5 years (1992-96)
Playing Experience: Four-year lettterwinner as a linebacker at East Central Oklahoma State (1976-79). Was an NAIA All-American as a senior. Played professionally in the Canadian Football League with Calgary (1980-85) and Saskatchewan (1986).
Recruiting Areas: Houston and Central Texas