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OVA Hall of Fame: Builders (John Nelson)

Posted on 06/12/2018

John Nelson gained notoriety in the volleyball community by playing intramural and drop in volleyball just about every day of the week at the University of Waterloo. He went on to play for the Waterloo Giants and ultimately in 1978, he helped found the Waterloo Volleyball Club, for which he played and coached for over 20 years.

From 1984 to 1995, John ran the Southwestern Ontario Volleyball League. In 1984, John shifted his energies from simply running SWOVA Leagues to looking after the whole province. He served as the OVA Adult Competitions Chair from 1986 to 1992. This was an era when Adult Volleyball was thriving provincially, in large part thanks to his passion and dedication to the sport.

In 1995, John grew his involvement in more than coaching and running leagues and competitions. He took on the role of President of Region Three…. A post he held for 11 years. During that time, John became a self-appointed watch-dog of the OVA annual budget and he was appointed to the OVA Finance Committee. John would challenge the numbers when he felt it was important and always made sure that things were transparent and made sense. He cared about how OVA money was being invested, and he cared about the growth and development of volleyball in Ontario.

In 1998, as if he wasn't already doing enough in Volleyball, John began coaching girls' club teams with the Waterloo Tigers. He often coached two different teams at once, and regularly took groups of athletes from their entry into the club at 14U right through to 18U.

From 1985 to 2009, John also served as a Volleyball Official, and in 1991 he Chaired the Organizing committee for the CVA Senior National Volleyball Championships. For the last couple of decades, John has continued to develop young athletes with the Waterloo Tigers, regardless of their talent level, and has always been dedicated to their development and enjoyment of the sport. His club has played a key role in the delivery of Ontario Championships at RIM Park in Waterloo, by providing the majority of the volunteers for the past ten years of the event.

John has made a difference in volleyball and has left a tremendous legacy. On behalf of the people who benefited from the leagues and tournaments you ran, the athletes who had a place to play and develop under your tutelage and for every dollar the OVA didn't spend because we knew you were watching, we thank you. You truly are the epitome of Volleyball for Life and a very deserving recipient of the Paul and Shelley Brownstein Builder's award. Congratulations on your induction to the Hall of Fame.