Thomas Nelson was known for his versatility on the Emory & Henry football team. A defensive back, defensive lineman, fullback, and offensive lineman at various points in his career, Nelson was a four-year letterwinner and accumulated 16 career interceptions. Nelson, a 1998 graduate, was inducted into the Sports Hall of Fame in 2011 for his athletic accomplishments.
Upon induction, Nelson was third in the Old Dominion Athletic Conference record book for grabbing nine interceptions in a season, and he held the conference record for interceptions in a game with four. He was a two-time All-ODAC First Team, All-State College Division, and All-South Region honoree. Additionally, Nelson was named Second Team Hewlett Packard All-America, as well as to the Burger King, Kodak, and Dan Hansen’s Football Gazette All-America First Teams.
Nelson, who served as a captain his senior year, was an outstanding player on an outstanding team. During his career, the Wasps won three ODAC championships and maintained a home-game winning streak from 1992-96.
In addition to his athletic pursuits, Nelson was a member of Habitat for Humanity and Fellowship of Christian Athletes. He also participated in the NCAA Youth Education through Sports (YES) program while he was in college.
After graduating, Nelson remained at Emory & Henry for eight years, serving as assistant football coach, head softball coach, intramural director, area coordinator, and strength & conditioning coordinator, before leaving to pursue a career in secondary education and coaching. In the 2010-11 academic year, he was named Murphy High School Teacher of the Year.