David Nelson has been with Bowman Academy football from the very beginning. He was always one of the guys in the background doing good work that many didn’t notice.
That all changed this week when he was named the new head coach for the Eagles.
Nelson replaces Rob Gross, who was 10-11 in two years with a team that set a school record for wins last fall going 6-5. Bowman is entering its sixth season of varsity football.
Nelson has been offensive coordinator the last five years.
“I’ve learned that games are won in the offseason,” Nelson said. “We have to improve in all three phases of the game. But the biggest thing we have to do is get kids into the weight room.”
Nelson played for Dave Templin at Lew Wallace, where he graduated in 1991 and was a part of the Hornets team that beat Hobart. Nelson played at Texas Southern before returning to Gary.
He coached at Edison, Tolleston, Wirt and Wallace before going to Bowman.
The Eagles athletic director Marvin Rea said he received 15 applications for the open position. Nelson rose to the top because of his relationship with the students in the building, where Nelson subs often during the school year.
“Contrary to a lot of beliefs, Nelson was the guy who got our kids to college,” Rea said. “He was the one who has great relationships with college coaches all over. He has a high offensive mind and we have some very talented offensive kids coming back.
“We just felt like David was the perfect fit.”
Nelson will have to replace standout quarterback Antonio Pipkin. He said he has a couple players in mind to compete for the job.
“We just have to keep getting better and improve,” Nelson said.