I’ve received an awful lot of responses to this short tribute I wrote a couple weeks ago about my grandfather, Andy Nelson, so much in fact that I haven’t been able to respond to all of it (working on that).
It’s really nice hearing from people who were inspired or in some way affected by my grandpa, and Wednesday when I made my weekly appearance at the office for a meeting, there was a hand-written letter waiting for me at my desk (I tend to receive 2-3 hand-written letters from old men per month, many of whom are writing to admonish me for my inability to appreciate utility infielders and the virtues of the sacrifice bunt).
It was from Bruce Mueller, and that name didn’t immediately ring a bell.
But reading the letter, Bruce identified himself as the father of West Central football coach Kent Mueller, and the grandfather of USD hoops legend (and brief Skyforce guard) Josh Mueller. He’s also the grandfather of former Roosevelt basketball player Tyler Howard, who starred for the Riders last year and now plays for the University of Chicago.
Bruce talked Tyler into going out for track at Roosevelt, where Kim Nelson, Andy’s son, was his jumps coach. One reason Bruce talked him into that, according to his letter, was his own jumping prowess. He competed against Wilt Chamberlain at the Kansas Relays in 1956 (Wilt Chamberlain!!!)
Bruce informs me that he was my grandpa’s assistant football coach at Hurley High School, and that Kent was actually a first grade classmate with my aunt Deb.
He included this photo of he and Andy (left) accepting an award from Hurley students in 1965.
It contains the following caption:
We, the senior class of 1965, in sincere appreciation wish to dedicate the 1965 HURKOTA to our coaches, Mr. A. Andy Nelson and Mr. Bruce B. Mueller. These two individuals have done an excellent job in providing a physical education and athletic program for all students. Not only have Mr. Nelson and Mr. Mueller served in the classroom, but they have also shown an interest in our personal problems and lives. To you, we extend our deepest respect and gratitude.
This was all fairly mind-blowing to me, as I’ve spoken to Kent dozens of times over the years and never had any idea he and his family had any connection to mine.
And Bruce, to answer your question, no, Deb isn’t my mom, she’s my aunt. Her younger sister, Robin, is my mom.
Thanks for writing, and thanks very much for the picture. It’s definitely going in the scrapbook.