Director of Suffolk University Athletics Jim Nelson has announced that he will retire after 47 years of service to the institution, effective Aug. 2.

Nelson came to Suffolk University in 1966 as an assistant director of athletics and men's assistant basketball coach.

He was named director of Athletics in 1975.

From 1975 through 1995, Nelson also was the head coach of the men’s basketball team, taking the Rams to their first NCAA Division-III Championship Tournament during the 1975-76 season.

Nelson led the Rams to two NCAA Tournament appearances in all as he won 210 games during his 20-year stint as head coach.

In 1995 Nelson put aside his coaching duties to focus on the administrative side of the athletics department.

He has seen Suffolk Athletics grow to encompass 13 intercollegiate varsity sports programs as well as a host of intramural activities for the school’s undergraduate and Law School students.

In 1999-2000 Suffolk became a full-time members of the Great Northeast Athletic Conference (GNAC), and Nelson was named GNAC Executive of the Year in 2010.

In 2001 he was awarded Suffolk University’s Lifetime Achievement Award, while in both 2002 and 2004 he was recognized with the campus award for Good Person of the Year. In 2007 Nelson was awarded with Suffolk’s “Pink Tie” award for his work as part of the university’s October Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Nelson was also inducted into Suffolk University’s Athletics Hall of Fame in 2007, as part of the inaugural class.

Suffolk University Dean of Students Nancy Stoll applauded Nelson for his influence on campus and in the community.

“Jim has served on countless community task forces and neighborhood boards and takes great pride in representing Suffolk to community constituencies," said Stoll. "Perhaps his greatest contributions have come through his personal impact on thousands of students. He has been a mentor and a supporter to many who were struggling and, through his encouragement, students who otherwise would have dropped out, persisted and earned their degrees. He is a model for civility, discipline, commitment to community service and care for others. His loyalty to Suffolk University is unparalleled.”

A celebration party marking Coach Nelson’s retirement will be held at 4 p.m..Wednesday, June 19, at the Ridgeway Building Regan Gymnasium, 148 Cambridge St.

Suffolk University has set up the Coach James E. Nelson Endowed Scholarship, and donors may make their gifts through the online giving form or by contacting John Irvin, director of annual giving, at or 617-573-8445.

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