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Kris Nelson Named Dragon Wrestling Coach

July 23, 2009

Minnesota State University Moorhead Athletic Director Doug Peters announced today that Kris Nelson has been named the new head wrestling coach for the Dragons. Nelson becomes the 9th wrestling coach in the program’s 50 year history and brings nine years of collegiate coaching experience to the Dragon wrestling program.

“This is a great hire for Dragon Athletics,” said Peters. “Kris has wrestled and coached for a National Hall of Fame Coach and the fact that he has developed his skills under a Dragon Hall of Famer is an added bonus.”

A native of Lisbon, North Dakota, Nelson spent his collegiate wrestling career under Dragon Hall of Famer Bucky Maughan. In a standout career, he won 83 matches including a NCAA Division II National Championship in 2000 and two conference championships for North Dakota State University. He was also named the Most Outstanding Wrestler in Division II and was a three-time Division II All-American.

After completing his bachelor’s degree, Nelson joined NDSU’s wrestling staff where he sharpened his coaching and recruiting skills under the direction of Coach Maughan. During his coaching tenure with the Bison, Nelson was part of three conference championship teams, a national championship team and three Top 5 finishes at the Division II National Championships. Nelson also had a front row seat as the program transitioned to NCAA Division I.

“Coach Nelson has been intimately involved and gained experiences at the highest level of Division II and Division I. His recruiting and technical teaching skills will help the Dragons continue to compete and improve at the national level,” Peters continued.

Nelson takes over for Keenan Spiess who resigned to pursue others interests. This past season the Dragons were ranked as high as 15th in the country and qualified five of the ten member team for the national championships. The Dragons ended the season ranked 25th in the national polls.  Nelson takes over a program that has won nine of the last fourteen NSIC Championships and in its history produced 94 NSIC Individual Champions.

“I am going back to my DII roots and I am excited about that,” Nelson stated. “MSUM has a good group returning with several national qualifiers and also a solid recruiting class. I also feel there are many wrestlers in our region that can succeed at the DII level and I think we can successfully recruit them to be Dragons. I plan to continue to build on the history and success of the Dragon wrestling program.”

 “Working under great coaches I have learned a great deal. Bucky and Bret have prepared me to be successful as a head coach,” said Nelson. “I see this as a great opportunity to take the next step in my coaching career.”

Nelson earned a bachelor’s degree in physical education and health from North Dakota State in 2001. He then earned his master’s degree in education with an emphasis in athletic administration from North Dakota State in 2006.