Hall of Fame - Inductee Detail

David "The Admiral" Nelson

David "The Admiral" Nelson


  • Position: Coach
  • School: Hillsdale, Maine, Delaware
  • Years: 1946-1965
  • Inducted: 1987
  • Place of Birth: Detroit, MI
  • Date of Birth: Apr 29, 1920
  • Place of Death: Newark, DE
  • Date of Death: Nov 30, 1991

Member Biography

David M. Nelson was always a leader. He played halfback at Michigan 1939-41 and in his senior year won the school's Big 10 medal for academic and athletic achievement. He was head coach at Hillsdale 1946-47, assistant at Harvard 1948, head coach at Maine 1949-50 and Delaware 1951-65. He also served Delaware as director of athletics and dean of the Physical Education School. Then he was commissioner of the Yankee Conference 1989-91. He was named to the NCAA Football Rules Committee in 1957 and became its secretary- editor in 1962. He held that post until his death. For his many services the National Football Foundation gave him its Distinguished American Award, and the American Football Coaches Association gave him its Stagg Award. As a head coach he had a 105-48-6 record, and this earned him election to the College Football Hall of Fame. He started the wing T formation at Maine and developed it to its highest efficiency at Delaware. His Delaware teams won three championships in the Middle Atlantic conference. In August 1991 the National Football Foundation named him chairman of the Honors Court. He died following a heart attack November 30, 1991.
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