Utah State head men’s basketball coach Tim Duryea announced on Tuesday the addition of USU Hall of Famer and former player Spencer Nelson as an assistant coach to the program.
“First and foremost, Spencer is an Aggie, and not only that, but an Aggie great,” Duryea said. “He was a phenomenal player and the best leader as a player that I have been around in my 15 years at Utah State. He has a passion, not only for basketball, but for this institution. He came here, got his degree, got a graduate degree, did an internship on Wall Street and had a 10-year pro career overseas. I don’t think there is anyone more qualified to sell what Utah State University can do for a student-athlete than Spencer Nelson.
“His personality is tailor-made for coaching. He is energetic, enthusiastic, very knowledgeable and as a player was a player/coach throughout his collegiate and professional career. He has always looked at the game from a technical side, is very intelligent and has a great basketball IQ. He is a home run hire and a future superstar in collegiate coaching.”
Nelson is a fan favorite in Logan and was named a Mid-Major All-American and the Mid-Major Player of the Year as a senior in 2005, as he was the only player in the nation to average at least 15.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game. During the course of his career, Nelson peppered his name in the Utah State record book, finishing among the top 20 in 10 career statistics. Additionally, Nelson owns three of the top-10 single season field goal percentage records, shooting 65.3 percent as a senior in 2005 to rank fourth all-time, and 60.0 percent as both a sophomore and junior to rank tied for ninth all-time in the USU history books.
During his final three years at Utah State, Nelson helped the Aggies to a 73-21 (.777) mark, including a 42-12 (.778) ledger in the Big West as USU shared the regular season championship in 2004 and won Big West tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament in 2003 and 2005. Nelson was also a three-time academic all-Big West honoree and one of the 16 Aggie greats named to the USU All-Century basketball team in 2005.
Nelson went on and played professional basketball overseas for 10 years, competing in Germany, Italy, Greece and Spain. He retired in 2015 and has spent the last year working in private equity with the Cicero Group in Salt Lake City. Nelson was inducted into the Utah State Hall of Fame in 2015.
Nelson earned an undergraduate degree, dual majoring in accounting and finance, and an M.B.A. from Utah State. He and his wife, Julie, have four children - Hannah, Logan, Tommy and Violet.
“I am extremely excited and humbled at this chance to return to Utah State,” Nelson said. “I am very appreciative of coach Duryea in giving me this opportunity to be a part of the Utah State basketball program again. I was able to play here and had a wonderful experience, playing for coach (Stew) Morrill, and I’m now equally excited to work with Tim and share with other young men the incredible student-athlete experience that I had at Utah State.”
Nelson is the fourth former player and the first in more than 20 years to appear on a Utah State men’s basketball coaching staff, joining Reid Newey (1992-93), Jim Boatwright (1989-91) and fellow USU Hall of Famer Jimmy Moore (1988-93).
Kyle Cottam is the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations at Utah State University.