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Don Nehlen Print E-mail
Following in the footsteps of Doyt Perry, Don Nehlen is one of three men to play football at Bowling Green and later coach the Falcons on the football field. As a junior, Nehlen quarterbacked the Falcons to their first MAC championship, earning second team All-MAC and honorable mention All-Ohio honors. He would repeat those accomplishments his senior season, moving up to the All-Ohio second team.

He moved to the high school coaching ranks at Mansfield High School after his graduation from Bowling Green, also serving as the head coach at Canton South and Canton McKinley before returning to the college game as an assistant at Cincinnati. Nehlen returned to BG as an assistant coach on the 1965 MAC championship team, and took over as head coach in 1968.

While the Falcons were 53-35-4 in nine seasons with Nehlen at the helm, they were never able to capture a MAC title. Rival Toledo put together a 35-game winning streak from 1969-71, and by 1973, Miami(OH) was working on a stellar 32-1-1 record themselves. In between, 1972 looked like the Falcons' year. Opening the season on September 16, when BG travelled to Purdue and shocked the 18th-ranked Boilermakers, 17-14. After a road win over Miami(OH) and a tie at Western Michigan, the Falcons ended a five-game winless streak (0-4-1) against Toledo, beating the Rockets 19-8. The next week would be their downfall. A 14-10 home loss to Kent State, their only MAC loss of the year, was enough to keep them from a conference title. The Flashes and Falcons finished the conference season with identical 4-1 records, and the October 14 win at BG gave Kent State the title.

Following the 1976 campaign, Nehlen, at odds with the university administration, took an assistant coaching job at Michigan. There, he served under Bo Schembechler, who was the offensive line coach at Bowling Green in 1955, Nehlen's sophomore year. He served at Michigan for three years, taking the head coaching job at West Virginia before the 1980 season. He is the winningest coach in West Virginia history, retiring after the 2000 season with an overall career record of 202-138-8, 17th all-time when he left the game.

Also a member of the baseball team, Nehlen was inducted to the BG Athletic Hall of Fame in 1978, the MAC Hall of Fame in 1994, and the College Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
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