FORT MYERS, Fla. - After helping guide the FGCU women’s volleyball team to an 18-13 overall record and a trip to the semifinals of the Atlantic Sun conference tournament last season as an assistant coach, Fernanda Nelson has resigned and accepted the head coaching position at Florida Atlantic University of the Sun Belt conference. She will be the fifth head coach in the program’s history.
“FAU made a great decision with their hire,” said FGCU volleyball head coach Dave Nichols. “Not only is Fernanda an amazing coach, but she is an even better person. I am so happy for Fernanda and her family, with this wonderful opportunity to advance her career. We will certainly miss her in the Eagle family, but we are also excited for the great opportunities that are ahead of her.”
While at FGCU, Nelson helped the Eagles to a 63-53 overall record (46-17 Atlantic Sun Conference record) and the 2008 regular season A-Sun title. She also assisted head coach Dave Nichols in guiding FGCU to a winning record in its first season of sand volleyball in 2012.
One of the best setters in the storied history of the Brazilian National Team and named Brazil’s top setter in 1997, Nelson helped FGCU setter Roberta Santos and outside hitter Ana Kokanvic, two of the best players in FGCU history, earn first team All-Atlantic Sun honors in their senior campaign (2008). In four seasons with the Green and Blue, Nelson has helped coach seven All-Atlantic Sun selections (three first team), four conference All-Freshmen team honorees, a unanimous A-Sun Freshman of the Year, an ESPN/CoSIDA Academic All-District 3 selection (Holly Youngquist; second team) and 27 Academic All-Atlantic Sun selections.
Nelson arrived at FGCU after eight years as both a player and a coach at National American University in Sioux City, South Dakota. Nelson arrived at NAU in 2000 and earned second-team NAIA All-American honors as a rookie. She helped lead NAU to a national championship in 2002, and by the end of her collegiate career she was a three-time first team All-American selection and twice named the National Player of the Year (2001, 2003). As an assistant, Nelson helped lead NAU to four straight regional championships and the 2006 NAIA National Championship. She was inducted into the National American University Hall of Fame in 2007 and the NAIA Hall of Fame in 2008.