John "Rocky" Nelson is in his seventh year with the Columbus State Cougars as the Head Men's and Women's Golf Coach. He has led the women's team to four individual and team NJCAA National Championship appearances and the men's team to a NJCAA DIII National Runner-Up finish in 2017 and a NJCAA DII 7th place finish in 2012.
Nelson has produced three NJCAA athletic All-Americans at the DII and DIII levels, Ash Alstadt, John Carlisle, and Dominic Caminiti. Additionally, Columbus State produced a trio of NJCAA academic all-Americans, Colin Dawson, Justin Dearth, and Nicholas Darling.
The District II Coach of the Year has maintained over a .500 conference record over the past three seasons, despite competing nearly exclusively with DII programs.
He is PGA Life Member and played on the PGA tour for three years. Rocky qualified and participated in five U.S. Opens and one PGA Championship.
Rocky began his career in the 1970s as the Head Golf Professional at several area golf courses. In 1987, he returned to his alma mater as the teaching professional for the men's and women's golf teams, then served as Women's Golf Coach until 1996. Afterward, he was hired as the teaching professional for North Star Golf Course.
Rocky has two daughters, Rachel and Audrey, who both played golf for Columbus State. He and his wife, Laurel, reside in Sunbury, Ohio.