Iowa player, NBA coaching great Don Nelson elected to Hall of Fame

He's one of only two coaches named NBA Coach of the Year three times

Scott Dochterman
Published: April 2 2012 | 11:28 am - Updated: 3 April 2014 | 4:02 pm in
Print Print

Former Iowa player Don Nelson was one of 12 members elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Monday morning.

Nelson, the NBA's all-time winningest coach with 1,335 wins, was a three-year star at Iowa. He ranks 11th all-time in scoring with 1,522 points and averaged 21.2 points a game from 1960-62. Nelson led Iowa in scoring and rebounds all three seasons he was eligible to play.

Nelson was a three-time Iowa MVP and twice was named first-team all-Big Ten. He still holds Iowa's record for most free throws in a game (21).

His Iowa career stands as a footnote to his NBA accomplishments, however. He's one of only two coaches named NBA Coach of the Year three times (1983, 1985, 1992).

His NBA teams reached the playoffs 18 times and he won 75 playoff games. He's one of only two NBA coaches to win 250 games with three different teams.  In 2007, he led the Golden State Warriors to the first No. 8 seed upset over a No. 1 seed (Dallas) in a seven-game series.  He also coached Dream Team II to a gold medal in the 1994 World Championships. Nelson also won five titles as a player with the Boston Celtics (1966, 1968, 1969, 1974 and 1976).

Nelson and 11 other members will be enshrined from Sept. 6-8 in Springfield, Mass.


Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Is there other feedback and/or ideas you want to share with us? Tell us here.