PE Teacher Mick Nelson Retires



PE Teacher Mick Nelson.

Marissa Q. Bennett, Staff Writer

This article is going to be prefaced with the fact that in typical Mick Nelson fashion, he didn’t want to be the subject of any hype and preferred to end his career quietly.  Therefore, he declined to be interviewed for this story.

But others had plenty to say about Nelson, who started at Centennial in 1990 as a PE teacher and football and basketball coach.  Nelson has also coached boys tennis and girls basketball over the years, and has taught health classes.

Stu Clem, the head basketball coach at the time, said, “Nelly was a great coach and friend, and he was a great athlete and competitor.  I know he never lost a morning basketball game.” Those morning games were a tradition among the staff; they’d play two days a week from 6-7 am, and again on Saturdays, often against varsity boys players.  “Nelly could really shoot the ball and he made a lot of kids mad when he’d hit a bomb to win the game.”

Teacher BJ Basinski said,“When I was a freshman in 1989 he was my sex-ed teacher. He was 23 years old. Everything Mr. Basinski learned about sex-ed came from Mr. Nelson.”

“He coached a lot of sports and taught Driver’s Ed,” Basinski said.   “He does a lot of things outside of class,” Basinski stated.

Brent Child, the Athletic Director at Centennial, had this wonderful story to share, “I’ve always enjoyed Nelly’s dry wit and laid back demeanor.”

“I’ve had many experiences with Mick over the years, but two stand out the most.  The first one was on a trip to Hawaii back in the early 90’s when Mick and I were coaching in our boys basketball program.  Our varsity team participated in a basketball tournament that took place on “the big island”, and we didn’t get checked into our hotel until after dark.  Being it was very late and we were all tired, the coaching staff and players immediately went to bed without knowing that our rooms were right next to what seemed to be like a wildlife refuge.  Mick and I were roommates and we were awakened in the early morning by one of the loudest birds that I’ve ever heard; one that made a rather loud Ha-Ha-Ha! sound. Nelly was startled by the noise so much that he practically fell out of bed.  We laugh about that experience to this day,” said Child.

Luke Franzke stated that “He’s done a lot at this school, he’ll be hard to replace.”

Nelson was an outstanding athlete at Hillsboro High School and Linfield College. He also has two children who attended CHS, Kevin and Kyle.