Courtesy of Tim Nott, Grand Valley State Associate Athletic Director for Media Relations
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Dick Nelson (Hodsdon), the voice of Laker Football for 37 years, passed away in the early morning hours of Sunday, February 1, 2015. The Hodsdon family will meet friends at the Grand Valley State Alumni House on the Allendale campus from 1-5 p.m. on Friday, February 6. In lieu of flowers a memorial contribution is suggested to the Dick Nelson Memorial Sports Broadcasting Scholarship. Click here to access the Dick Nelson scholarship link.
"Dick Nelson is an icon in the history of Laker Athletics," said Tim Selgo, GVSU Director of Athletics. "So many people for so many years loved listening to Dick's broadcasts of Laker Football. Even though he always thought every official's call went against GVSU, he certainly left no doubt in the minds of the Laker Nation that he was a Laker through and through. Dick's "Touchdown Lakers" call is simply the best signature call I have ever heard in listening to sports my entire life. He is not only a legendary broadcaster and GVSU Athletic Hall of Famer, Dick was a wonderful husband to his wife Lori and loving father and grandfather. Some of us were fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with Dick to hear him share wonderful stories of his career and in particular, his Chicago Cubs. We will miss him immensely, not just as a broadcaster, but more importantly, as a wonderful person and friend. The thoughts and prayers of the entire Laker Nation go out to Lori and family."
Nelson, who called Grand Valley Staste Laker football for 37 years, retired prior to the 2014 football season due to declining health. Nelson missed just two games of his illustrious career, the most recent being the 2013 seminfinal contest at Northwest Missouri State. The only other game Dick missed was due to poor weather conditions as he was en route to Northern Michigan in 1984.
Grand Valley State was 326-106-2, including four NCAA DII National Championships, a 32-13 playoff record, six title game appearances, eight regional crowns, 14 conference crowns and 17 playoff appearances with Nelson calling the action. Nelson cited several memorable moments and games during his 37-year career, including his first-ever game versus Bowling Green at Houseman Field (L 17-6) in 1977, Brian Kelly's first road win at top-ranked North Dakota State (W 21-17) and the first National Championship win versus Valdosta State (W 31-24) in 2002. Nelson called 326 of the Lakers' 353 victories and 37 of the 44 total years that GVSU has been playing football.
Nelson first started calling Laker football on WCUZ, followed by several stations that aired the games in the West Michigan area over the next 37 years. In addition, Nelson hosted several sports shows on WGVU and worked for WZZM as a sports anchor.