Longtime coach and administrator Vicki Nelms replaces Jeff Erdman

Photo Credit: JOHN DENNY - Vicki Nelms brings a wealth of experience to the position as she attempts to fill the shoes of retired athletic director Jeff Erdman at Clackamas High School.Veteran athletic director Vicki Nelms has been named athletic director at Clackamas High School, replacing longtime athletic director Jeff Erdman, who has retired.

Nelms, 57, has had 34 years of experience teaching, coaching or administrating athletics, mostly at the high school level.

Most recently Nelms was a high school athletic director at Los Alamos High School in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Los Alamos is a school with an enrollment of 1,100 students that excelled in athletics during Nelms’ tenure.

Nelms was athletic director at Los Alamos for seven years and during those seven years, Nelms says, Los Alamos finished first or second in the New Mexico high school “Directors Cup” competition, a competition that rates high schools according to their overall success in athletics.

“The last seven years at Los Alamos, we won 17 state championships, mostly in cross country and track,” Nelms says. “We had some very successful programs, and where we had programs that weren’t that successful, we worked hard to make them better. We are very proud of what we did.”

Nelms’ efforts in improving Los Alamos’ athletics did not go unnoticed. She was named New Mexico Class 4A Athletic Director of the Year by her administrative peers in 2011, and she was named New Mexico Coaches Association Athletic Director of the Year in 2012.

Nelms, who has some 15 years of experience as an athletic administrator, was president of New Mexico’s High School Athletic Directors Association during the past two school years.

Nelms explained her decision to move to Oregon and take charge of the athletic programs at Clackamas High School: “My principal [at Los Alamos] decided to retire a few years early. This job intrigued me. I’d never been to this part of the country and the school appeared to have some very successful athletic programs.”

Nelms is a 1975 graduate of Pacific High School in Pacific, Missouri, where she competed in volleyball, basketball and softball. She holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Arkansas State University (1981), where she was a setter in volleyball for three seasons. She earned her masters degree in educational administration from Texas Women’s University in 1987.

Nelms’ coaching career has taken her to Portageville, Missouri; Chillicothe, Texas; Snyder, Texas; Cape Coral, Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; and Vanderbilt, Texas. She’s coached volleyball, basketball, softball, track and field, tennis and cross country, while serving mostly as a health and physical education teacher or athletic director.

Nelms said of her goals as Clackamas High School athletic director, “[Former athletic director Jeff Erdman] has done a great job. I’ll try to build upon what he has done. Keep the programs that have been successful strong and work on building up the programs that haven’t been that successful. That’s been one of my strengths — building up programs that haven’t had a lot of success.”

Nelms lists photography and deep-sea fishing as hobbies. She said she was looking forward to visitng the Oregon coast.

Erdman, 55, was involved in coaching and/or administrating high school sports programs for 33 years, serving as athletic director at Clackamas for the last 14 (2000-2014).

Erdman said one of the things he was most proud of during his tenure at Clackamas was that the school was ranked in the top 10 in the Oregonian Cup rankings for 10 consecutive years, earning second-in-the-state rankings in 2004, 2009 and 2011. The Oregonian Cup ranks schools based on: success in the win-loss column, GPA’s of varsity athletes, and sportsmanship.

Reached by telephone in July, Erdman said he has begun a second career, as a full-time salesman for Lids, a sports apparel and equipment company that sells sports equipment and uniforms to schools and sports teams and organizations.

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