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Pacific remembers rugby coach Kreg Nelson

Kreg Nelson

Kreg Nelson

May 20, 2020
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Alumnus and University of the Pacific rugby club team coach Kreg Eldon Nelson passed away May 9, 2020. He was 63. 

Nelson ’84, who was a member of the university rugby team as a student, returned to Pacific in 2008 to coach the Pacific club rugby team and had been in the position since. In 2015, he led the team to the National Small College Rugby Organization National Championship and he and coach Terry Lynn were named the NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference’s Coaches of the Year.

After his team’s win, Nelson told The Pacifican he felt, “A strange amalgamation of joy, relief, pride and every other positive emotion known to man… I think the best thing was seeing the pure joy on the players’ faces as they celebrated their amazing accomplishment. 

Nelson served as the NorCal Collegiate Rugby Conference Commissioner since September 2014. He had an accomplished coaching career taking numerous rugby club teams to national championship brackets, but his biggest love was coaching and guiding college students. He had high regards for Pacific and its students. The one thing that Nelson was prouder than his team’s 2015 national championship was the success of his Pacific players in the classroom and outside of the pitch. The team has several alumni with masters and three with doctorates. He really liked talking about their successes. Nelson was an advocate for inclusion and women playing on the team, and this fall the women’s team at Pacific was going to become its own team through his support.

"I had the honor of working with Kreg for five years and in every interaction with him his passion for Pacific, its students and the rugby club could be felt," said Marc Falkenstein, executive director of Campus Life. "He was more than a coach to the students in the club, he was a mentor, an advocate, supporter and pillar of the Pacific rugby community.  Pacific Recreation and the Pacific Rugby Club look forward to honoring Kreg and his impact on the club and university when we are able to."

Nelson graduated Magna cum laude from Pacific with a degree in civil engineering. He also earned a bachelor’s in music from CSU Long Beach in 1979.

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