During my 15-plus years working at the Ada Evening News, I have logged hundreds (at least) of trips to Ada High School for various sporting events and interviews.

And during most of those appearances, I almost always ran into Bill Nelson.

If there ever was a poster boy for Ada High School, it was probably Bill Nelson.

So after I heard the news of Nelson’s departure from Ada High while I was heading back to the hotel from a golf course near Branson, Mo. two weeks ago (yes, this news did travel fast — and far), I was stunned.

After 21 years as the principal at Ada High, Nelson has accepted a job with the ever-growing Chickasaw Nation.

“Ada High finally traded up,” Nelson joked of his retirement from The System.

That’s one of many things about Nelson that will be missed at future Ada High events — his sense of humor.

Ada tennis events will likely see less of Nelson as well. The six-time Oklahoma Tennis Coaches Association Coach of the Year isn’t sure how much time he’ll be able to devote the Ada Tennis Club tournaments such as the Sooner State Open and the Hard Rock Tournament.

Nelson will be the tournament director for next month’s Sooner State Open for the 29th time (if I’ve counted right). But after that, it’s unclear how much he’ll be able to be directly involved with the Ada tennis community he holds so dear. The SSO is still the longest-running open tennis tournament around (60-something years and counting) and Nelson has been part of most every one of them as either a player, coach, ball boy or director.

His three daughters — Sunny, Summer and Sky (you won’t find three cooler gals with three cooler names that were all good athletes) — were key components on several of Ada head coach Skip Griese’s Lady Cougar tennis teams.

Needless to say, Nelson has made an impact on the Ada School System and the Ada tennis program.

And his presence will be missed.

But you can bet that Bill Nelson will take in a few football and basketball games this fall. Heck, he might even go see an Ada High play or band concert. One thing will be different though. Now he’ll be Bill Nelson, Ada fan and supporter. He won’t have to be part of the group that makes sure everything is running smoothly. He can sit back and enjoy the show.

So it’s not really good-bye, Mr. Bill. Good luck is more appropriate.

We’ll see you soon.

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Updating Myself

Lots of stuff happened during my two-week hiatus from the sports department. Here’s some of what I missed:

• Chuckie Caufield and the Oklahoma Sooners baseball team nearly made an incredible run to the College World Series but came up a game short against national power Rice.

• The World Cup began and the United States got off to a not-so-hot start. I won't watch another second if the Red, White and Blue doesn't make it to the next round!.

• Tiger Woods missed the cut at the U.S. Open. Wow.

• Ada’s summer baseball team went 4-4 in my absence in Red Dirt League play.

• The NBA Finals got off to a 2-2 start.

• Back-up Sports Editor Leo Kelley actually survived the two weeks as my replacement. (Well almost. He was out sick on Friday.)

———o———

Fantasy Baseball Update

After 10 weeks of the 2006 Ada Evening News Fantasy Baseball Challenge, yours truly has leapfrogged his way into second place.

Those pesky KJ’s Hardhitters managed by Kevin Gray were still holding down the top spot with a 78-52-10 record. My AEN Investigators are seven games back at 70-58-12.

Rounding out the top five are Bob Forrest’s Mustangs at 69-59-12; Leo’s Sluggs at 66-59-15 and former crime guy Jeremy Cantrell’s Team Flash at 64-62-14.

Yes James Myers and his soonerjas squad is 18 and a half games back (57-68-15).

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