For the love of the game: Coach Corky Nelson Endowment Fund to benefit Cru football program
To say coach Clark “Corky” Nelson loved the game of football is quite an understatement—some have said he lived for the sport. After 40 years of coaching at both college and high school levels, Corky had an influence on thousands of players, coaches, and their families before passing away in November 2014.
Corky spent the last five years of his coaching career at UMHB as a defensive coordinator (1999 to 2001) and as assistant head coach (2002 to 2003). “UMHB’s football program would not be where it is today without the influence of Corky Nelson,” said head coach Pete Fredenburg. “He was absolutely the most demanding person I’ve ever known, and he refused to settle for anything less than excellence. He was like that because he truly cared for people.”
Under Corky’s leadership, the Cru experienced multiple victories at conference championships and Division III playoff games.
When Corky retired in 2006, he didn’t stop following the Cru. “He loved UMHB, and it was important to him to attend games,” said Judy Nelson, Corky’s wife.
In fact, Corky loved Crusader football so much that he followed the team’s progress up to the day he passed away. As a result, it seemed fitting that his wife would establish the Coach Corky Nelson Endowment, which is an endowment that contributes to the Football Excellence Fund. The money raised through the endowment helps cover the football program’s varying costs, like equipment and lodging during out-of-town games.
While Corky coached at Baylor University and the University of North Texas, Judy felt donations were best suited for the Cru. “The program here was very important to him, and he invested a lot of time and energy into it,” Judy said. “He always believed in Pete and the work he was doing with the program here.”
She believes the endowment will help ensure that Crusader football remains a top-tier program, continuing to equip men to pursue excellence on and off the playing field. “Corky’s biggest legacy is that he loved his athletes and wanted them to be good people. He wanted them to get good degrees, be good fathers, and overall, become successful men,” Judy said.
She hopes former players will join her in honoring her late husband by contributing to the fund. “Players ought to want to give back to this program,” Judy said. “This is a great way for them to do just that. They received a great education at UMHB and experienced many successes as a part of the football program. This endowment gives them an opportunity to put their money in a place they were part of, and that they believe in.”
For more information on giving to the Coach Corky Nelson Endowment fund, please contact the Office of Development at 254-295-4601.