Mike Nelson
Mike  Nelson

Head Coach - XC/Assistant Coach - Track & Field

Alma Mater:
Truman State, 2003


Golden Eagles Flock to Six Track & Field Meets Across the Country

Track and field to compete Thursday-Sunday


Track & Field Announces 2012 Recruiting Class

MU adds 21 athletes for 2012-13


Bolgert and Johnson Named Capital One Academic All-America®

Bolgert is a three-time Academic All-America selection


Marquette's Elisia Meyle to Compete at USA Junior Nationals

Meyle looks to gain Junior All-America status


Track & Field Season Preview: Distance

Second of three track & field previews

Contact Coach Nelson
Phone:(414) 288-5105
Email Coach Nelson

Mike Nelson enters his ninth season as the head cross country coach and assistant track and field coach in 2015-16.

He has guided the cross country team since his arrival in August 2007 and overseen multiple Marquette record holders on the track, in addition to several top-freshman marks. Five of his student-athletes have also earned All-Great Lakes Region recognition in cross country.

Under Nelson's guidance and dedication, Marquette has twice hosted the BIG EAST Conference Championships (2009 & 2013) at the Wayne E. Dannehl National Cross Country Course. Nelson played a lead role in getting the winning bid to host a conference championship, the first since Marquette hosted as a member of Conference-USA in 1996.

Academically, four student-athletes have earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors seven times, while both Peter Bolgert ('12) and Olivia Johnson ('12) earned Academic All-America honors in 2010-11 and 2011-12. The 2010-11 year was the first time athletes at Marquette had earned Academic All-America first team (Bolgert) honors in any sport at Marquette since 1996-97.

On the track, Nelson has coached five individual school-record holders and two relay record holders. Alison Parker (800) and Kayla Spencer (1,000) each broke the school mark during the 2014 indoor season. And in 2015, the women's indoor DMR team of Jessica Parker, Cassy Goodrich, Jennifer Parker and Kellie Greenwood set the record with a time of 11:32.69.

In the women's outdoor 5,000 meters, Nelson has coached three school-record holders. Jayne Grebinski ('10) captured the 5,000-meter record in 2008 with a time of 16:45.96. In 2015, that record was broken multiple times. First, by Kellie Greenwood (16:34.11) and then bested seven days later by Brittney Feivor (16:32.93). Also in 2015, the 4x800-meter relay team of Nicole Ethier, Jennifer Parker, Kirsta McClure and Jessica Parker ran to a blistering mark of 8:46.70 to earn the school's top spot in the event.

Freshmen have flourished under Nelson in recent years with Alec Miller holding top rookie marks in the 800 and 1,000-meter indoor events in 2015. On the women's side, Jennifer Parker set the top 600-meter indoor time in 2015. Meghan Carroll also set the top indoor time in the 1,000-meter run in 2015, while Alison Parker (800 indoor) and Brittney Feivor (5,000 indoor) each etched their names at the top of MU freshmen lists in 2014. Alison Parker also notched the top-freshman time in the outdoor 800 in 2014.

Nelson has worked with NCAA West Preliminary Round participants Grebinski (2010), Bolgert (2010), Blake Johnson (2010 and 2011), Olivia Johnson (2010) and Nick Szcech (2010 and 2011). He also helped Grebinski (2008 and 2009) and Cassie Peller (2008) reach the Mid-East Regional.

The Fenton, Mo., native has also worked with seven USATF Junior National qualifiers and three individuals who earned All-American status at those championships.

Nelson spent two years at Saint Louis University where he was hired as the head cross country coach in 2005, and then founded the track and field program at SLU in the Spring of 2006. The Billikens encountered immediate success in both competition and the classroom, competing in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

Before arriving at SLU, Nelson spent two years as a graduate assistant for the Emporia State University cross country and track and field teams. He also worked with ESU's distance runners on the track and field team and served as the recruiting coordinator for the squads. Nelson helped lead the Emporia State men to a second place finish at the 2004 Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletics Association Cross Country Championships. His student-athletes won the men's 5,000 meter and 10,000 meter runs at the 2005 MIAA Outdoor Championships as ESU finished second in the team standings. Nelson coached women's school-record holders in the distance medley relay, the indoor 1,000 meter and a national qualifier in the 1,500 meter.

A 2003 graduate of Truman State University, Nelson was a four-time All-MIAA performer for the Bulldogs. He competed in the NCAA Division II cross country national championships as a junior and senior, and helped his team to a fourth-place finish in 2001 and a 14th-place finish in 2002 at the national meet. Nelson graduated cum laude from TSU with a degree in exercise science. He earned his master's degree in physical education from Emporia State in 2005.

Nelson has his USA Track & Field Level I and II (endurance) Certification and earned his USTFCCCA Endurance Specialist certification in July 2011.

Nelson is married to the former Cassandra (Cassie) Peller, who graduated from Marquette University with a PhD in Biological Sciences in 2014. She is now a professor in the Life Sciences Department at Marian University in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. Cassie is also a former Marquette track & field/cross country student-athlete having competed from the 2004-08. She is on several of the MU track & field top ten lists in the middle distance events and was captain of both the cross country and track & field squads her junior and senior seasons. 

Mike and Cassie reside in Wauwatosa, Wisconsin and have two children, Brooke (born in July 2012) and Wesley (born in August 2014).

Nelson's Marquette Cross Country Coaching Record
Year Position at MU BIG EAST Cross Country Championships NCAA Great Lakes Regional
2014 Head Coach M: 6/9; W; 5/10 M: 18/30 ; W: 12/32
2013 Head Coach M: 5/9; W: 6/10 M: 17/31 ; W: 14/33
2012 Head Coach M: 8/14, W: 7/15 M: 15/30, W: 16/32
2011 Head Coach M: 7/14, W: 9/16 M: 8/31, W: 17/33
2010 Head Coach M: 8/14, W: 10/16 M: 10/31, W: 16/33
2009 Head Coach M: 7/14, W: 8/16 M: 12/30, W: 11/32
2008 Head Coach M: T-7/14, W: 7/16 M: 16/28, W: 7/34
2007 Head Coach M: 7/14, W: 7/16 M: 8/30, W: 4/30
Head Coach 8 years

CoSIDA Academic All-Americans 
2012 (M) Peter Bolgert (first team)
(W) Olivia Johnson (second team)
2011 (M) Peter Bolgert (first team)
(W) Olivia Johnson (first team)
2010 (M) Peter Bolgert (second team)
CoSIDA Academic All-District
2012 (M) Peter Bolgert
(W) Olivia Johnson
2011 (M) Peter Bolgert, Brice Cleland, Nick Sczcech
(W) Olivia Johnson
2010 (M) Peter Bolgert
Track and Field NCAA Outdoor Regional Participants
2015 (W) Brittney Feivor (5,000)
2014 (M) Spencer Agnew (1,500)
2013 (M) Jack Hackett (5,000)
2011 (M) Blake Johnson (10k), Nick Szczech (10k)
2010 (M) Peter Bolgert (steeplechase), Blake Johnson (Steeplechase), Nick Szcech (5,000)
(W) Jayne Grebinski (steeplechase), Olivia Johnson (1,500)
2009 (W) Jayne Grebinski (steeplechase)
2008 (W) Jayne Grebinski (5,000), Cassie Peller (1,500)