BLOOMINGTON — When Kim Nelson was in seventh grade, her father promised to buy her a volleyball if she made the junior high team.
Now Kim Nelson-Brown, she still carries the spirit of the game with her.
“How much volleyball has had an impact in my life is incredible,” said Nelson-Brown, who won her 500th match as Illinois Wesleyan coach on Wednesday against Carroll in Waukesha, Wis.
In her 26th season, Nelson-Brown sports a career record of 500-360. Her teams have won four College Conference of Illinois and Wisconsin championships and made five NCAA Division III Tournament appearances.
Nelson-Brown, whose current team is 12-10 and 5-1 in CCIW play, didn’t know how close she was to the milestone victory until informed by athletic communications director Katie Gonzales.
“With COVID last year it was so weird. I didn’t know if those matches counted,” Nelson-Brown said. “I figured the time comes when it comes. I was hoping it would be at home, but that didn’t work out.”
Nelson-Brown received congratulations from Titan players throughout her tenure, including from her first team in 1996.
Nelson-Brown was a standout player at Illinois State before becoming a coach. She also serves as IWU associate athletic director and senior women’s administrator for athletics.
Part of an athletic family, Nelson-Brown's husband Brian is a former Illinois State football player. Daughter Tyler was a volleyball All-American at IWU and is an assistant coach on her mother's staff. Son McCade is pitcher in the Colorado Rockies organization.
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Contact Randy Reinhardt at (309) 820-3403. Follow him on Twitter: pg_reinhardt