CALUMET TOWNSHIP — Dominique Nelson is ready for a new chapter after announcing Tuesday that he resigned as Calumet's boys basketball coach.
"I think for me, I've done all that I can at Calumet as far as the history we've made over the years," Nelson said. "I'm just looking for a fresh start and kind of hitting reset. I'm enjoying coaching AAU right now (for Region-based program Indiana Game) and just trying to dive into some other opportunities that may present themselves."
Nelson, who will continue teaching at Calumet, emphasized that he still plans to coach in the future. He was at the helm for six seasons and compiled a 72-71 record during that span, capped off by an 11-9 record last season.
Nelson's most successful season was in 2017-18, when the Warriors defeated Twin Lakes for their first sectional title in 18 years. Calumet's run ended in a 47-45 Class 3A regional semifinal loss to West Lafayette.
"That would've been our first regional win ever," said Nelson, who was named The Times Coach of the Year that season. "I really thought we could've closed that one out."
The following season the Warriors clinched their first Greater South Shore Conference crown in 11 years.
Additionally, Calumet has made four straight sectional final appearances, a feat that Nelson doesn't take lightly. He said he is proud that most of his players had the chance to play for a postseason championship, although it did take some time.
Nelson went 18-27 during his first two seasons, but he points to a game in his first campaign when he felt like his players began to trust him.
"That first year, Quentin Perry had a half-court heave against Westville (on Dec. 5, 2015), and that was the first moment when it seemed to click," Nelson said. "I think they knew then that, 'Hey, this dude is serious.' And when I say 'Believe!' I really mean it. I think it was 0.7 (seconds) on the clock, and he threw that sucker in left-handed to get us to overtime. They were all looking at me crazy in the huddle after that, but I just told them to keep believing, and we winded up winning that game."
Nelson, who was the GSSC Coach of the Year in 2015 and 2019, added that he'll miss a lot of the off-court interactions and experiences he shared with his players. One memory that sticks out is their trip to Marquette for Dwyane Wade's jersey retirement in January 2019.
"I just wanted those guys to see something different," Nelson said. "I'll always love them and want what's best for them. ... We created a real brotherhood that looks out for each other, and I really just thank them for helping me grow. This was my first real head coaching job at the varsity level, so again I just thank them for buying in and trusting my plan."