NATCHITOCHES – A Natchitoches family with deep roots in Northwestern State University Athletics has created a scholarship to benefit a student-athlete. Bill Poole created the endowed scholarship in honor of his parents, NSU alumni Dan and Nelwyn Poole.
The Dan and Nelwyn Poole Scholarship will be awarded either to a student-athlete who is an incoming freshman that will be used for summer school before his or her scholarship begins in the fall or to a former student-athlete who has finished out his or her athletic eligibility, but has not yet finished coursework to graduate.
Dan Poole, affectionately called Coach Poole, coached and taught in Natchitoches for many years, at Natchitoches Central High School and at Northwestern State.
“The ideal recipient would be someone who would not be able to attend college unless there was some help along the way,” Bill Poole said. “Maybe someone who needs help attending summer school when athletic scholarships don’t help. We’ve all received a helping hand in some way, we just want to give back so that others will have an opportunity to experience Northwestern the way that our family has.”
Both Dan and Nelwyn Poole attended Northwestern State from 1948-52 and both were Health and Physical Education majors, even though they both taught math most of their careers. While teaching in Natchitoches Parish, both were student teacher supervising teachers through NSU’s Department of Education.
Dan Poole loved football and asked Coach Harry “Rags” Turpin if he would go out for the team. Turpin issued him equipment and he played four years. After freshman football, he asked Coach H. Lee Prather if he could go out for basketball. Prather issued Poole some shoes and he played three years with the Demons. His favorite memory of athletics at NSU was being a member of the 1948-49 basketball team. Poole also joined the track team led by Coach Walter Ledet for four years, competing in high and low hurdles, high jump and the mile relay, now called the 4 x 400.
“It’s possible Dad is the only athlete, or one of a few, who played for Coaches Turpin, Prather and Ledet while they were head coaches. All three now have a facility named after them: Turpin Stadium, Prather Coliseum and the Ledet Track Complex,” Bill Poole said.
From around 1970-1990, Dan Poole was the keeper of the game clock at NSU home basketball games. From 1964-2010, he worked NSU track meets, usually as the Clerk of Course.
Nelwyn Poole was part of the Northwestern State swim team, which was a club sport for women, coached by Coach John Piscopo, who was also the gymnastics coach. She performed with the NSU Neptunes, NSU’s synchronized swim team, taught swim classes and worked at the Natatorium with a student employment scholarship. She passed her love of swimming on to all of her children.
Dan and Nelwyn’s daughters also earned degrees at NSU. Nancy Poole Hildebrand earned a master’s in nursing and is married to Bruce Hildebrand, son of former NSU Athletic Director Tynes Hildebrand. Cindy Poole Davis earned a degree in business administration and a master’s in education (sports administration). Bill earned a degree in building construction at Northeast Louisiana University, now the University of Louisiana-Monroe. The couple’s history also led to another Poole being involved with NSU Athletics. Grandson Daniel William “Will” Poole IV played basketball for Coach Mike McConathy, graduating in 2016 with a degree in math.
For information on contributing to the scholarship, supporting student-athletes or initiating a scholarship in honor or memory of a loved one, call the NSU Foundation Office at (318) 357-4414 or visit northwesternstatealumni.com.