Rick K. Nelson,2004- Nelson established one of Western Illinois’ most successful wrestling careers from 1972-75, earning back-to-back all-America honors, a runner-up finish in the national championship meet and an overall record of 62-7-1.
In his first year as a Leatherneck, Nelson compiled a 20-3-1 record in the 167-pound weight class. His 57 takedowns led the Leathernecks that season and his win-loss record was the second best on the team. As a sophomore, Nelson earned a 19-2 record in the 167- to 177-pound class, led the team in takedowns for the second straight season, also led the team in victories, and ranked second on the squad with 59 total points. He advanced to the NCAA Division II championship meet, finishing sixth in the nation, and was named to the NCAA All-America team. In his final season, Nelson compiled a spotless 19-0 regular season record, earning his second consecutive berth in the national championships where he finished in second place after knocking off the top-seeded wrestler, 9-8. He also earned his second straight all-America honor and ended the season with an overall record of 23-2.