COLLEGE STATION – The pair of track and field meets hosted by Texas A&M this Friday and Saturday, January 12-13, will be named the Ted Nelson Invitational to honor Texas A&M’s former head coach and Aggie sprinter.
“Ted Nelson is a true gentleman of the sport,” noted Texas A&M head coach Pat Henry. “Besides being a very successful coach, he always showed a lot of class. As meaningful and important as all of that is, he also has big heart for this institution. We’re excited about honoring him this weekend.”
A dedication reception with Nelson will be held on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the Heritage Lounge on the West side of Kyle Field. If interested in attending the reception, please RSVP with the Lettermen’s Association by calling 979-846-3024.
Nelson served as head coach with Texas A&M for 14 years, following 24 years as an assistant under Charlie Thomas and one season as a graduate assistant. In addition to 39 years of coaching with the Aggies, Nelson was a four-year letterman in track and field and a 1965 letterman in football. He served as team captain in track and field during the 1964 and 1965 seasons.
With a collegiate career that included winning the 1964 SWC title in 440-yard dash and setting a conference record of 46.2 seconds, Nelson once owned 13 Texas A&M records. He was also a member of collegiate record efforts in the 440-yard and mile relays.
In 1999, Nelson was inducted into the Aggie Athletic Hall of Fame. In 2010, Nelson was part of the inaugural class inducted into the Texas Track and Field Association Hall of Fame.
A native of Andrews in West Texas, Nelson led his high school team to three consecutive state team titles. As a junior in high school, Nelson broke national prep records in the 440-yard dash and mile relay. In his senior season, Nelson improved the national record in the 440.
As an assistant coach with Texas A&M, one of Nelson’s first thrills as a coach came in 1969 when Curtis Mills set a world record in winning the NCAA 440-yard title. Mills, a sophomore that season, bettered a NCAA field that included 1968 Olympic gold medalist Lee Evans and silver medalist Larry James.
Athletes coached by Nelson at Texas A&M set 10 world records, earned 104 All-American honors, won 14 national championships and claimed 50 conference titles from 1966 through 2004.
The list of sprinters and hurdlers Nelson coached includes Andre Cason, Curtis Dickey, Stanley Kerr, Floyd Heard, Anjanette Kirkland, Rod Richardson and Rosa Jolivet. Nelson was also instrumental in the development of distance runner Arturo Barrios, who set a world record in the 10,000m, and high jumper Jimmy Howard, a former American record holder.
Teams competing in the Ted Nelson Invitational on Friday include Houston Baptist, Incarnate Word, Lamar, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Northwestern Louisiana, Prairie View A&M, Sam Houston State, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Texas A&M-Kingsville, Texas Southern and UT Rio Grande Valley.
The Saturday field of teams in the Ted Nelson Invitational includes Texas A&M along with Abilene Christian, Army, Clemson, Stephen F. Austin, Texas Arlington, Texas State and UTSA.
Friday field events and running prelims begin at noon with running finals starting at 1:30 p.m. A pair events on Friday afternoon, the distance medley relay and 5,000 meters, will include schools from both the Friday and Saturday meets.
Saturday field events begin at noon, with running prelims at 12:30 and running finals starting at 2 p.m.