Larry was a Wisconsin State High School Champion and Wisconsin State AAU Champion. He attended the University of Michigan and won the Michigan AAU Championship, was Midwest Olympic Trails Champion, and was a Big 10 Champion - wrestling for legendary coach Cliff Keen. Larry started the wrestling program at Vacaville High School, was head coach for more than 30 years (1961-94) and was the Vacaville assistant coach to his son Dave from 1995 present. Larry's teams have dominated the Sac-Joaquin Section for many years. His coaching accomplishments include leading teams to numerous section individual and dual meet championship championships, and producing many California State CIF Champions. He was also a former Bay Area Wrestling Association President, California State Wrestling Advisory Committee Member and California State Coach of the Year.
DAVID WRESTLED AT VACAVILLE HIGH SCHOOL WHERE E WAS COACHED BY HIS FATHER, HALL OF FAME INDUCTEE LARRY NELSON. HE ATTENDED SAN FRANCISCO STATE UNIVERSITY WHERE HE BECAME A CONFERENCE CHAMPION AND NCAA DIVISION II ALL AMERICAN. UPON GRADUATION HE SERVED AS AN ASSISTANT COACH AT SAN FRANCISCO STATE. HE WAS A FOUR TIME MEMBER OF THE U.S. NATIONAL GRECO-ROMAN TEAM AND PLACED THIRD IN THE GRECO ROMAN WORLD CUP. IN 1985 DAVE BECAME THE HEAD COACH AT VACAVILLE HIGH SCHOOL AND HIS TEAMS WON BOTH THE SECTION DUAL MEET AND SECTION CHAMPIONSHIPS. IN 1985 HE WAS SELECTED FOR INDUCTION INTO THE SOLANO COLLEGE ATHLETIC HALL OF FAME. HIS COLLEGE COACH SAID “DAVID WAS ONE OF THE MOST DEDICATED, KNOWLEDGEABLE AND RESPECTED WRESTLERS AND HUMAN BEING THAT GOD HAS EVER PRODUCED”
Dave Nelson Head Wrestling Coach, Vacaville High School 1994-2000
A member of the California Wrestling Hall of Fame and Solano Community College Athletic Hall of Fame, along with his father Larry, Dave was the head wrestling coach at Vacaville HIgh School from 1994 until the time of his passing in 2000. Dave was an accomplished wreslter, a World Bronze Medalist in Greco Roman as well as a collegiate All American at San Francisco State University. Dave continued the strong tradition of wrestling at VHS started by his father, leading the Bulldogs to four Sac Joaquin Section team dual championships, and coaching two individual CIF State Champions (Justin Bailey and Beau McCoy). Dave laid the foundation for what would soon be the Bulldogs most successful decade, the 2000's, but was unable to continue coaching after he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS).
LARRY NELSON HEAD WRESTLING COACH, VACAVILLE HIGH SCHOOL 1961-1994
Larry Nelson is one of the founders of one of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s most successful athletic programs: The Vacaville High wrestling program. Nelson was Vacaville’s first wrestling coach; he started the team in 1961 and coached until 1994. His teams went a combined 553-71 in their dual meets - the second most wins by a wrestling coach in California history. Nelson’s Bulldogs won 26 league titles, 15 sub-section championships and six Sac-Joaquin Section tournament titles. They also won five Section team duals championships and most likely would have had more had that tournament been started earlier in his career. He coached two CIF state individual wrestling champions (Al Re and Steve Hilas). He remains involved with the Vacaville wrestling program and can be seen at many of their home events.