Smoky Valley girls’ basketball coach Bill Nelson learned an important lesson while working under long-time Buhler football coach Chuck Porter.
Porter was trying to instruct his special teams unit on the best way to field an onside kick after the Crusaders missed one during a game. He had the kicker drive the ball into the ground, only, instead of going up high into the air, as it was supposed, the ball instead came at Porter waist high, hitting him in a very sensitive spot.
“The thing I learned from that is to never stand 10 yards away from a kicker,” Nelson said of the incident. “No matter what you’re trying to teach him.”
This story is just one of many Nelson, who has been a teacher and coach for nearly 30 years, has included in a recently released book entitled “Memoirs of a Mediocre Coach Who’s Been Abundantly Blessed!: What coaching has taught me about life.”
Nelson, who also is an assistant with the Smoky Valley High School football team, started work on the book around five years ago, writing down a chapter as a story came to him. He finally put the chapters together this summer and self-published the book through Create Space from Amazon.com.
“From way back, I’ve always been a storyteller,” Nelson said. “There’s funny things that happen no matter what your lot in life is, no matter what you do for a living. So, there have been a number of really funny things that have happened to either players that I’ve coached or myself or assistant coaches.”
Stories range from his involvement as a high school athlete on a state championship team through college and into his coaching career. And they aren’t all happy stories, either.
“There’s one in there about how I knocked over a set of lockers in the locker room out of anger,” he said. “That’s not the way I should be acting as a coach, but it happened and, fortunately, it didn’t land on anybody. I point out both sides; good, bad or indifferent.”
Though he wrote the 40-plus chapters himself, Nelson did have help in editing the book from USD 400 Vision_Tek instructor Laurie Denk and Sharon Texley, a former teacher with the district. He received support in pursuing the book from his family, especially his wife, Kristin, who also is a teacher and coach with the Smoky Valley school district.
“It’s nice,” Nelson said. “When I go home, she understands the coach’s perspective and I bounce things off of her and that helps, too.”
Page 2 of 2 - Each chapter of the book begins with a Proveb, which Nelson felt was important to include, as his faith is an important part of both his personal and professional lives.
“I have always felt that God has placed me as a teacher and a coach,” he said. “He put that on my heart, so that I can be a role model and influence for others for Christ in a way that Ted Kessinger, who was football coach at Bethany, influenced my faith and my life as a coach.”
In addition to being available through the Amazon store, both in paperback and through the Kindle, “Memoirs of a Mediocre Coach Who’s Been Abundantly Blessed!” is also available at The Bookshelf, 206 N. Main, McPherson, where Nelson will do a book signing on Nov. 2.
While Nelson doesn’t see himself as an exceptional coach, he does feel the title is appropriate to his career.
“I’ve never seen myself as superior to any other coach,” Nelson said. “And it’s always been a blessing to work with the kids I’ve gotten to work with. It’s just been a really good life. It’s been a lot of fun.”
Contact Chris Swick by email at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @SwickSentinel.