Athletics Director Jim Nelson has been named 2012 NCAA Division-III Athletics Director of the Year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics for the Northeast Region.

The Athletics Director of the Year award highlights athletics directors' commitment and positive contributions to campuses and their surrounding communities.

“The Suffolk community is proud to see Jim Nelson receive this well-deserved award,” said University President James McCarthy. “He is someone who works hard, not only on behalf of student athletes, but for the entire campus community and its neighbors.”

Nelson has been an integral part of Suffolk University athletics for four decades. He began his tenure at Suffolk in 1966 as an assistant director of athletics and men’s assistant basketball coach. He was named athletics director in 1975.

From 1976-95, Nelson was head coach of the men’s basketball team at Suffolk, guiding the Rams to appearances in the NCAA Division III Regional Tournament. To this day he is hailed as "coach" as students, faculty and staff greet him on the Suffolk campus.

"For me, this honor is a collective one that also recognizes Suffolk University and our former and current student athletes," said Nelson. "I have been blessed through more than four decades at this university to have been witness to incredible growth that continues to create opportunities for current and future students and student athletes. The students' enthusiasm, success and achievement offer terrific morivation for myself and for all of my colleagues as we welcome new groups of students each fall."

Nelson was one of 29 national recipients of the award, which covers four geographic regions and seven categories.

"The program brings to light the remarkable jobs done by athletics directors across the country," said Bob Vecchione, executive director of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics. "These 29 outstanding winners epitomize that -- providing us with a group of exemplary athletics directors who excel on campus and in their communities."

Service and honors

In 1992, Nelson was selected as a member of the inaugural National Association of Basketball Coaches Division III Congress, and he received the 10th annual Outstanding Service Award from that organization in 2006. Today he serves as the association’s NCAA legislative adviser.

He served as the national chair of the NCAA Division III Basketball Committee from 1997-99.

Nelson was part of Suffolk University’s inaugural Hall of Fame induction class of 2007. He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2005, he was named a Sports Ethic Fellow by the Institute for International Sport, and in 1997 he received the New England Basketball Coaches Association Doggie Julian Award for Service to New England College Basketball.

Nelson was also named Executive of the Year by the Great Northeast Athletic Conference in 2010.

Nelson accepted Athletic Director of the Year Award during the James J. Corbett Awards Luncheon on June 27 at association's 47th Annual Convention in Dallas.