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Darren Nelson

Head Coach Darren Nelson and his wife Lymarie moved from Minneapolis, MN to Estero, FL in the summer of 2016. This fall, Coach Nelson will be entering his 20 th season coaching football. This will be Nelson’s 2nd season teaching and coaching at Estero. Nelson is an ESE teacher and Lymarie is the head pastry chef at Palmira Golf & Country Club in Bonita Springs.
Coach Nelson’s coaching career began in 2000 when he returned to the site of his prep career at the Academy of the Holy Angels. He spent his first season as the Head freshman coach and the following season as a Varsity assistant. His remaining two years he served as the Defensive Coordinator for teams that won two conference championships and one section title. Both accomplishments were firsts in school history.
Coach Nelson spent the next eleven seasons coaching in the collegiate levels. From 2004-2006, Nelson spent three seasons coaching at his alma mater, the University of St. Thomas. During his three year tenure as defensive backs coach, Nelson coached 5 All-Conference players including 1 All-American Paul Sommerstad. He spent the 2007 and 2008 seasons at Bemidji State, where he coached cornerbacks, including Cactus Bowl invitee, All-American and two-time all-conference CB Terrell Phelps.

Coach Nelson returned to the University of St. Thomas in 2009 and spent the next six seasons on three time National Coach of the Year Glenn Caruso’s staff. During this time UST compiled a record of 66-9 winning three conference championships, making 5 NCAA playoff appearances, 2 semi-final appearances and 1 National Championship appearance. In this span, Coach Nelson coached 5 All-Conference defensive backs including All-American and two-time all-conference CB Chinni Oji. Coach Nelson returned to the high school ranks in 2015 where he served as the defensive backs coach and Special Teams coordinator at Shakopee High School. In 2016, he served in the same capacity at Estero high school. In 2017, he was at South Fort Myers where he was a defensive assistant and Special Teams coordinator. In July of 2018, Nelson was named the Head Coach at Estero.

Coach Nelson graduated from UST in 2000 with undergraduate majors in both Criminal Justice and Psychology. As a player he was a second-team All-MIAC selection with the Tommies in 1999 helping that UST defense lead the MIAC in total defense. Coach Nelson and his wife Lymarie reside in Estero with their two cats Ragnar and Peanut.

POSITION: Head Football Coach
HOMETOWN: Minneapolis, MN
HIGH SCHOOL: Academy of the Holy Angels (Minneapolis, MN)
COLLEGE: University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN)
PLAYING CAREER: University of St. Thomas, Defensive Back (1995-1999)
Academy of the Holy Angels(Minneapolis, MN)
Football – Head 9th Grade Coach (2000), Defensive Backs/Running Backs (2001)
– Defensive Coordinator (2002-2003)
University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN)
– Defensive Backs (2004-2006)
Bemidji State University (Bemidji, MN)
– Cornerbacks (2007-2008)
University of St. Thomas (St. Paul, MN)
– Defensive Backs (2009-20015)
Shakopee High School (Shakopee, MN)
– Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coordinator (2015)
Estero High School (Estero, FL)
– Defensive Backs/Special Teams Coordinator (2016)
South Fort Myers High School (Fort Myers, FL)
– Special Teams Coordinator/Defensive Assistant (2017)
Estero High School (Estero, FL)
– Head Football Coach (2018-Present)