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Don Nehlen


Donald Eugene Nehlen

Inducted 2005

Date of Birth



Canton, OH


West Virginia University (1980-2000)

Bowling Green State University (1968-1976)


When Don Nehlen took over as the head football coach at West Virginia in 1980 he was faced with a program that was coming off four consecutive losing seasons and had a 1-13 record against traditional rivals Pittsburgh and Penn State. In his second season, he had a winning record and by his fifth swept both Pitt and Penn State establishing West Virginia as one of the top schools in the East. Nehlen played quarterback at Bowling Green from 1955-1957. He came back to the MAC school for his first collegiate head coaching job. He spent nine years at his alma mater winning 53 games. After three seasons as an assistant to Bo Schembechler at Michigan, he took the West Virginia job. At WVU, he led the Mountaineers to a bowl bid in his second season and produced four consecutive top-20 teams. In 1988, he had an undefeated regular season and played Notre Dame for the National Championship in the Fiesta Bowl. Another undefeated regular season followed just five years later. In 30 seasons as a head coach he won 202 games, and had only five losing seasons.


Wins 202

Losses 128

Ties 8

Career Highlights

  • 1988 Dodd Coach of the Year winner
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