SMSU announces contract extensions for Culhane (volleyball) and Nelson (wrestling)

MARSHALL, Minn. – Southwest Minnesota State University Director of Athletics Chris Hmielewski announced today that head volleyball coach Terry Culhane and head wrestling coach Jesse Nelson have both been awarded four-year contract extensions.

“Both Terry and Jesse have brought great knowledge and leadership to our department, their respective programs, as professors at the University and in the community,” Hmielewski said. “We are excited to solidify our coaching staff and look forward to their continued success as part of the Mustang family.”

During his seven seasons as head coach, Culhane has directed the Mustangs to an overall record of 181-53, including 98-26 in Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference matches, and seven NCAA tournament appearances. During Culhane’s tenure the Mustangs have placed second five times in the NSIC standings and have played in two NSIC tournament championship matches. In 2010, SMSU finished 27-4, was ranked as high as No. 2 in the national poll and for the first time in program history SMSU hosted the NCAA region tournament.

Culhane, who has twice been named NSIC Coach of the Year, has coached six NCAA II All-America players, had 11 first team all-region selections, three AVCA Region Freshmen of the Year, two NSIC Players of the Year, two NSIC Freshman of the Year and 18 first team all-conference honorees.

Prior to being named head coach at SMSU, Culhane coached high school volleyball for 22 seasons and racked up a career record of 519-112, including five state championships.

“During the last seven years, Terry has continued to build one of the most successful Division II volleyball programs in the nation,” Hmielewski said. “Coach Culhane’s hard work and dedication has helped the Mustang volleyball team gain national recognition on the court and in the classroom. He has built an established summer camp program that is at capacity each year attracting female athletes from the five-state area. We are very fortunate to have Terry at the head of Mustang volleyball and wish him, his coaching staff and our student-athletes great success in the years to come.”

Nelson recently completed his fourth season as head coach and has led the Mustangs to steady improvement each of his four seasons.

Following a winless dual season in 2007-08, the team’s dual win total has improved from three in 2008-09, to four in 2009-10 and eight this past season.

SMSU’s 8-4-1 dual record in 2010-11, was the program’s first winning season since 2002-03, while the team also finished tied for fourth in the eight-team NSIC and had one national qualifier.

Nelson has had six different individuals qualify for the NCAA II national championships, including one two-time national qualifier. His recruiting efforts have also increased SMSU’s roster size from 15 during his first season to more than 40 during the 2010-11 season.

“The Mustang wrestling program has seen continual improvement each of the past four years under the direction of coach Nelson,” Hmielewski said. “Jesse has increased the number of student-athletes in our wrestling program to more than 40, enhanced fund raising efforts within the program, developed a Mustang Wrestling Alumni Advisory group and continues to improve the team’s performance on the mat and in the classroom. I look forward to seeing the continued progress of the Mustang wrestling program over the next four years under Coach Nelson’s leadership.”

Prior to being named head coach at SMSU, Nelson spent five seasons as head coach at Ridgewater College, including winning a junior college national championship in 2005.