~~Nelson ready for challenges at Orangeburg Prep
By David Shelton
Orangeburg – After five successful years at Holly Hill Academy, Michael Nelson is ready for a new challenge.
Nelson, who coached basketball, baseball and volleyball at Holly Hill for the last five years, has been hired as the volleyball and boys’ basketball coach at Orangeburg Prep for the 2015-16 school year.
The 27-year old coach saw Orangeburg Prep as an opportunity to compete at a higher level, even with the increased challenges.
“This is an opportunity to learn and improve as a coach at a higher level,” said Nelson. “I loved my five years at Holly Hill Academy. Those people were great to me and treated me very well. I just felt a desire to take the next step as a coach and Orangeburg Prep gave me that opportunity.”
Nelson spent the last three years as the varsity baseball coach, guiding the program to a pair of state championships. He also was the head girls’ basketball coach for the last two years after three years as an assistant. He served five seasons as a volleyball assistant.
Though he is not coaching baseball at Orangeburg Prep, Nelson is excited about the two programs he inherits. The volleyball program has produced competitive teams in recent years while the boys’ basketball program has struggled somewhat, winning only four games last season.
“I think right now, the volleyball team is in a better position to win,” Nelson said. “We have a good core group of returning players and nine seniors. I think we should compete this year.
“The basketball program does not have any returning starters so we’re basically starting off with a clean slate. I’m a new coach and we’ll likely have a lot of new kids in the program this year. We’ve had some open gym days this summer and I have to admit I am pleased with the number of kids that are showing up out there. We’re just trying to change the culture and we’re trying to create interest. I think we’re on the way to doing that.”
Nelson says baseball and basketball are “about equal” in terms of his level of enjoyment. He enjoys the strategy part of basketball, especially in games.
“I’m an X and O guy,” he said. “I love the strategy part of basketball. I feel like a coach can have more of an impact in the outcome of a basketball game and that’s exciting for me.”