By Pat Lammer

Staff Writer

Ed Nelson was named as the new St. Thomas Aquinas boys basketball coach on Thursday.

The 36-year-old Nelson replaces longtime head coach Steve Strand, who decided to retire from coaching after the 2018-19 season.

Nelson attended St. Thomas Aquinas from 1998-2001 and starred on the Raiders’ 2001 Class 5A (out of 6 classes) state championship squad.

“It’s an honor,” Nelson said. “I’m replacing a legend in coach Strand. Coach had such an impact on myself and my teammates.”

He will be a first-time head coach. He was an assistant on the Raiders’ staff in 2016-18.

As a player, Nelson was the 2001 USA Today Florida Player of the Year. He was selected to attend the National Basketball Players Association camp and was a 2001 Nike All-American.

Nelson attended Georgia Tech out of high school and in 2002 was the ACC Freshman of the Year. He would transfer to UConn, where he helped the Huskies win a national title under Jim Calhoun.

Nelson would go on to play professionally overseas. He played in Spain, Italy, China, Germany and Argentina.

“With my experience in basketball, what I learned — I played for a Hall of Fame coach in Jim Calhoun — I’m looking forward to sharing my experience,” Nelson said.

Strand amassed a won-loss record of 410-195 at St. Thomas from 1996-97 to 2018-2019.

If you have high school basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer via text at 954-661-9671.

If you have high school basketball news, you can reach Pat Lammer via e-mail at or via text at 954-661-9671.