Roosevelt head football coach Kim Nelson now has the most career wins of any high school football coach in South Dakota. On Friday, the Rough Riders defeated Harrisburg 23-21, pushing Nelson to 290 career wins.
Nelson now has more career wins than Sioux Falls O’Gorman’s Steve Kueter, who won 289 games over 33-years with the Knights. Kueter retired from coaching after the 2015 season, and is now the athletic director for O’Gorman.
With the exception of four seasons spent coaching in Edina, Minnesota (2005-2009), Kim Nelson’s entire head coaching career has been in South Dakota.
There has been some dispute to what Nelson's South Dakota win total should be. Because of the years he spent coaching in Minnesota, some believe those wins shouldn't count towards his total in South Dakota. South Dakota High School Activities Association Assistant Executive Director John Krogstrand released a statement on Friday explaining why those wins in Minnesota are counted towards his South Dakota total.
"The South Dakota High School Coaches Association, and its umbrella organizations maintain all those [coaching] records," explained Krogstrand. "The South Dakota High School Football Coaches Association (the coaches themselves) years ago decided to include those wins."
Throughout his 37-years of coaching in the Mt. Rushmore State, 41-years in total, Nelson has head coached just four programs: Milbank (1979-87), Rapid City Central (1987-1993), Sioux Falls Washington (1993-2005), and Sioux Falls Roosevelt (2009 – present).
Even though Nelson has been a coach for more than four decades now, he has just one state championship on his resume. It happened in 2011, when his Rough Riders defeated Washington, one of his old teams, 31-17 in the Class 11AA title game.
He has been to the state championship game a total of five times, one with Washington in 2002, and the other four with Roosevelt. Three of his five appearances have come in the last six years (2013, 2014, and 2017).
A few other highlights to Nelson’s resume include being a seven-time Conference Coach of the Year, the 2011 South Dakota State Football Coach of the Year, and a National High School Football Coach of the Year Finalist in 2014.
Nelson is a graduate of Dakota State University (1979) where he played football, basketball, and baseball. In 1986, he earned a masters degree from South Dakota State University.