University of Delaware
Office of Public Relations
The Messenger
Vol. 5, No. 4/1996
Athletic complex named for Nelson

     The athletic complex on the University's south campus has
been named the David M. Nelson Athletic Complex, in recognition
of the late Blue Hen head football coach, athletic  director and
dean of the College of Physical Education, Athletics and
     Mr. Nelson was responsible, while head football coach, for
the innovative Wing-T offense, still used in Delaware game plans.
Known as "The Admiral," Mr. Nelson helped develop the women's
intercollegiate athletic program.
     The Nelson Sports Complex includes the Bob Carpenter
Sports/Convocation Center, Delaware Stadium, Delaware Diamond,
the Delaware Field House and the Blue and Gold ice arenas, along
with numerous playing fields.
     Mr. Nelson, who came to Delaware in 1951, served as athletic
director from 1951-84, head football coach from 1951-66 and dean
of the college from 1980 until his retirement in 1989. He died in
1991. Considered the foremost authority on collegiate football
rules, Mr. Nelson was a member of the National Collegiate
Athletic Association (NCAA) Football Rules Committee since 1957
and was secretary and editor of the committee from 1962 until his
     In honor of his contributions to college football, he was
inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1987 and to
the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame in 1978. He received the
National Football Foundation and Hall of Fame's Distinguished
American Award in 1984.