Nelson named SAHA executive director


The Superior Amateur Hockey Association and Superior Rink Management announced the hiring of Steven E. Nelson as its new executive director. Nelson will assume his new role effective Dec. 1.

“We are extremely pleased to welcome Steve back to Superior and the Superior Amateur Hockey Association,” said SRM/SAHA Personnel Committee Chair Mike McCoshen.

Nelson was named the University of Wisconsin-Superior head men’s hockey coach in 1986 following a stint at Fridley (Minn.) High School, where he served as head boy’s hockey coach.

During his 14 years at UWS, the Yellowjackets won one conference championship (1994) and three conference playoff championships (1994, 1997, 2000). His teams also advanced to eight NCAA Division III Tournaments, and made three appearances in the national championship game (1994, 1997 and 1999).

Nelson’s players received all-American honors on 21 occasions. He is a four-time WIAC Coach of the Year (1987, 1991, 1992, 1994) and three-time NCHA Coach of the Year (1992, 1994, 1999). Nelson’s .592 career winning percentage (249-168-21 overall record) ranks 28th among all-time NCAA Division III coaches with a minimum of 10 seasons. His 249 victories rank 39th among coaches with at least 10 seasons at an NCAA Division III school.

The title of interim athletics director was added in 1996, with the interim tag being dropped a year later. Nelson held both titles until he resigned in 2000 to become the commissioner of the America West Hockey League. In 2004, Nelson returned to UWS as full-time director of athletics, a post he held until his retirement in 2015.

As the athletics director, Nelson engineered the addition of several sports to the Yellowjacket lineup — women’s hockey, men’s soccer, women’s soccer, women’s golf and men’s golf.

He has overseen a department that has reached the NCAA tournament in three sports (men’s hockey, women’s hockey and softball) and had national tournament qualifiers in cross country, indoor track and field and outdoor track and field.

Marked improvement has been noted in other sports as well, particularly in men’s soccer and women’s basketball, as both programs have recently qualified for their respective NCAA tournaments.

Nelson has been a member of the NCAA Management Council. In addition, Nelson served the NCAA as part of the Ice Hockey Rules Committee (1991-1998), the Men’s Ice Hockey Championship Committee (2004-2008), which he chaired in 2008, and the Women’s Ice Hockey Championship Committee (2009-2013), which he chaired in 2013.

He was also instrumental in bringing the NCAA men’s hockey championships (1994, 2000, 2007) and the NCAA women’s hockey championships (2013) to Superior.

A native of Fridley, Nelson is an alumnus of St. Lawrence University in Canton, N.Y. and the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis. He has three children — David (27), Claire (26) and Bettye Jo (24).