Ruth Nelson epitomizes what it means to be an AVCA Hall of Famer from her time as a player, coach, marketer and fundraiser across the professional, collegiate and youth ranks. A former player on the U.S. National Team in the 1970's, she went on to enter the coaching ranks, but continued to evolve into so much more.
Her first coaching position was at George Williams College from 1970-1972 before rising to national prominence as the University of Houston Head Coach. There, she led the Cougars to a 290-84 record and had the honor of coaching the late Flo Hyman, Rose Magers, Sherryl Moore and Rita Crockett. In the collegiate ranks, she totaled 16 years coaching including stops at LSU and the University of Iowa, totaling over 500 wins. She also served as an assistant coach for the national team she once played for while also serving as head coach of the U.S. Junior National Team. However, what makes Nelson great is being more than just an elite collegiate coach.
She was also an expert marketer, serving as a Volleyball Director and Director of Sports & Corporate Marketing at the Special Olympics for 12 years. There she generated $3 million in sponsorships. She has continued to help organizations market and fundraise while helping young players realize their dreams of playing collegiate volleyball as an owner and CEO of several companies. Working extensively with players, their parents and coaches alike, she has shared her knowledge at AVCA Conventions and also serves as mentor in the AVCA mentoring program.
Nelson was inducted into the University of Northern Colorado Athletics Hall of Fame in 2013.
"Technically and tactically she is one of the smartest volleyball people that I have come across, and feel privileged to have the opportunity to work with such an amazing person," said Alabama State Assistant Coach Valerie Armstrong. "She has made such a positive impact on so many athletes, teams and coaches, and her contribution to the sport of volleyball is huge."