Nelson hired as Bluejay Football Offensive Coordination

Former Tabor quarterback Ryan Nelson will return to the Bluejays as the offensive coordinator starting this season. Nelson, a member of the Tabor College football team from 2012-2014, replaces Steve Heiman, who accepted a head coaching position as the next step in his professional career.

Nelson’s first career start for Tabor came against Southwestern College in 2013. He led the Bluejays to an impressive 42-3 homecoming victory over the Moundbuilders. Later that season, Nelson led Tabor to a first-round NAIA playoff victory over Benedictine College, 14-13.

After graduating from Tabor in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Political Science, History and Social Science, Nelson started his coaching career at Lindenwood University as an offensive assistant and director of football operations. During his time at Lindenwood he worked with running backs and tight ends before being moved to the Lions quarterbacks coach. Nelson also worked with the social media accounts, graphics and youth camps during his time at Lindenwood.

Nelson most recently served as the wide receivers/tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator at Santa Barbara City College, where he helped lead the Vaqueros to a 7-4 record and a trip to the Beach Bowl during the 2016 season. During his stint at SBCC, Nelson also worked with social media, graphics and the strength and conditioning program.

Nelson said he has fond memories of his Tabor days and is eager to return. “My two years at Tabor were two of the most important and influential years of my life” he said. “I met lifelong friends, experienced great spiritual growth that provided a foundation for my life as a husband, father and coach. I had an incredible role model and mentor in Coach Gardner, along with the rest of the coaching staff, and always felt at home even though I’m from Los Angeles. It was an easy decision to be a Bluejay again.”

As for integrating his faith into his coaching, Nelson said: “Service and love. I believe you serve to lead. Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to prove this point. If you truly want to lead people, and have them open up and respond to challenges and responsibility, you need to humble yourself, love them and serve them.”

Nelson’s offensive philosophy is simple: to use the talents around him to help the team succeed. “I have played and coached in a handful of different offenses, so I’m not set on any particular style. They all have their pros and cons. My job as the coordinator is to find the best players in our program and put them in the best position to be successful play after play. At the core of my football life, I am a competitor. So that is who we will be on the offensive side of the ball.”

Tabor Head Coach Mike Gardner is excited to have Nelson return to lead the Tabor offense. “Ryan played for us in 2013 and was instrumental in our success. He helped us to a 10-3 record and a playoff berth as a quarterback” Gardner said. “I am looking forward to working with him.”

Coach Nelson is married to his wife, Megan. The two have a daughter, Aurora, who just turned 2 in June. Nelson will start his duties at Tabor July 1.

Tabor College competes in the Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference (KCAC), is a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).