He's tall in the Hall
By By Todd Thompson, Hartselle Enquirer
DECATUR - Even in a reception hall filled with hundreds of people, Bill Nelson is still an imposing figure.
His 6-foot-7 frame certainly makes the former Falkville High School and St. Bernard College player standout in a crowd.
Nelson, now 69, stood tall Saturday night when he was inducted into the Morgan County Sports Hall of Fame with seven athletes, including Hartselle resident Walton Ashwander and former Morgan County High standout Harry Puckett.
Ashwander played golf at Decatur High School and Auburn University, before playing professionally before injuries ended his successful run. He was a member of the Milligan team that went 9-1-1 in 1948, one of the last year’s for the school to field a football team.
He later served as a high school football official for 20 years.
Also honored at the induction banquet were basketball official Don Stanford, former prep football coach Steve Rivers, former Crimson Tide basketball player Bill Sexton and Decatur recreation official George White.
Nelson led Falkville to the county basketball championship in 1957 before heading to St. Bernard, where he was a four-year starter.
St. Bernard won the 1960 NAIA national championship.
But his career didn’t end after his high school eligibility ran out. Nelson went on to play nearly a decade of independent league basketball and he also stayed around the game as a basketball official for several years.
Nelson was an outstanding college basketball player, but he continued to show his athletic talent in independent leagues for six years.
During a five-year stretch, Nelson’s teams lost just one game.
Unless, of course, you counted a loss to the Harlem Globetrotters - a loss that Nelson and his teammates had to agree to before taking the floor against the world-renowned show team.
Nelson’s independent teams played some of the top college teams in the Southeast, including Alabama, Auburn and Shorter College.
During his lengthy basketball career, Nelson came across plenty of talented players - both teammates and opponents - who he feels are worthy of induction into the hall of fame.