This archived article was written by: Talon Bryan
Caitlin Nelson has always been a great athlete, and now she’s trying to become a great coach. As a three-sport athlete at Riverton High School, Nelson received All-State honors in basketball and voted most outstanding athlete in her high school. During the spring season, Nelson competed in track and field taking second place in state high jump and competing very strongly in three other events.
Immediately after high school, Nelson knew basketball was the sport for her. Accepting a scholarship offer to the University of Alaska in Anchorage, the next year looked extremely promising to her basketball career and also her education. After a tough season, Nelson knew that Alaska wasn’t the place for her. Returning to Utah, she came in contact with her old high school coach and asked if he knew any places she could continue to play the sport she loved. Her coach informed her that USU Eastern had put interest into Nelson out of high school and that she would have a great chance at making the team.
Nelson traveled to Price and earned herself a spot with the Golden Eagles in 2011-2012. Working hard and winning games, Nelson earned herself the eyes of Utah State University recruiters and was informed they would be attending her next game. She was determined to have the game of her life. Coming out strong in the first half, Nelson scored 12 points and had 14 rebounds, and knowing she had caught the eye of the recruiters she was determined to show them even more.
Returning to the floor, Nelson was ready to show the recruiters she could to it all. Sliding out to the three line, she received a bounce pass just a little off the mark. As she reached to grab the ball, she took a step and in a quick flash, a player from the College of Southern Idaho also lunged for the ball landing on Nelson. Looking down at her knee, Nelson could see her knee dislocate as if it were in slow motion. The excruciating pain was enough to make her stomach tie in knots. When she made it to the doctor, they had told her she had dislocated her knee and that everything would be fine. Nelson knew there was something else wrong.
Leaving the hospital, Nelson told her mother that she knew she had torn her ACL and her season was probably over. Trying to play through the pain the next day, Nelson went in for a layup and completely collapsed under the little structure that was left in her knee. She then knew her season was over.
Heading in to surgery a few weeks later, everything was repaired in her knee and put back together just like it was supposed to. Four and a half months later, Nelson decided to come back to USU Eastern to try and change sports and pursue her last year of eligibility in volleyball. Struggling to make the transition from basketball back to volleyball Nelson, didn’t have the season that she had hoped to have. Now, thankful for that opportunity to play, she was ready to move on with her life.
A few weeks later, Nelson was given the chance to become an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team. She has enjoyed this opportunity very much and is excited about the upcoming season. The hardest part about the transition from player to coach has been not being able to play for the team and be a part of the practices as much.
Nelson is anxious to see what the upcoming season will bring to the women’s basketball team. She has confidence in the women, even with the loss of some star players from last year. As a coach, she is ready to work with the team to make them better athletes and better people.