Nelsen steps down as Booker coach

March 7, 2016
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Teaching at one school, coaching at another and going for Master’s degree at a third turned out to be too much for Hollie Nelsen.

So, she is giving up the coaching for now.

After one of the most successful seasons in program history, Nelsen has stepped down after two seasons as the girls basketball coach at Booker High School.

“I just don’t have time,” said Nelsen, a teacher at Sarasota School of Arts and Science.

With an injury-depleted roster for most of the season, Nelsen guided the Tornadoes to a district title and the regional finals for only the fourth time in program history.

Booker’s season came to an end at 21-7 with a loss to Fort Myers Dunbar in the Class 5A-Region 3 title game. The Tornadoes also reached the regional finals in 1999, 2000 and 2008, making their only Final 4 appearance in 1999, when they lost to Jacksonville Ribault in the state semifinals under Coach Angela Wells. They fell in the regional finals the other two years to Seffner Armwood and South Fort Myers in 2000 and ’08, respectively.

Booker played the entire season without its best player Yamaris Guevarez, who was recovering from a turn anterior cruciate ligament and accepted a Division I scholarship to Jacksonville University on Saturday. Other players were injured during the season, leaving the squad with seven or eight healthy players most of the games.

“She was really good,” Booker assistant director of athletics Greg Schinzel said of Nelsen. “We are really going to miss her.”

Nelsen wanted to make it clear her decision was not influenced by the school’s former director of athletics Rod Dragash stepping down last month.

“I know it’s odd timing, but that had nothing to do with this,” Nelsen said.

Schinzel already received one one-of-town inquiry concerning the opening. The Tornadoes should be well stocked next year with the return of their top three players: Cellexia Foster, Arie Bass and Diamond Merced.

“We should be getting quite a few,” Schinzel said.

Here is the ad Schinzel posted for the opening:

Booker High School is looking for an experienced Head Coach to develop and guide our Girls Basketball Program. High school or college experience is preferred. We are looking for a person to take on all the duties of a Head Coach.  These duties include:

  • Coordinating  practices
  • Making and confirming schedules
  • Maintain accurate athletic paperwork
  • Monitor students’ grades for eligibility
  • Set up and break down of gym for games and practices
  • Coordinate fundraising activities
  • Establish and maintain parent communication.

All interested applicants can send their resume to Assistant Athletic Director Greg Schinzel at [email protected]

We would like to have someone placed for summer workouts as soon as possible. At this time this is a stipend position only, however a teaching position may open up.  No phone calls please.

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