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Always an Auggie: Namesake of Augsburg football field turns 100

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Edor Nelson's longevity only adds to his legendary status at Augsburg College.

They'd already named the football field after him, but when a campus icon turns 100 it calls for another celebration.

So the former athlete, coach, and teacher came out onto Edor Nelson Field in Minneapolis on Monday and graciously accepted the congratulations of his many admirers, KSTP reports. (The school was also unveiling the field's new video scoreboard.)

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Nelson starred in football, baseball, and basketball before graduating from Augsburg with the class of 1938. WCCO radio reports after serving in World War II – including time in prisoner of war camps in Germany and Poland – Nelson returned to his alma mater as a coach in all three of those sports, plus wrestling.

Nelson spent decades coaching and teaching in Augsburg's health and physical education department. He finally retired as baseball coach in 1979, which is four years after he was inducted into the college's athletics hall of fame.

Many of Nelson's former athletes helped the school mark his landmark birthday by attending Monday's ceremony and by contributing to a video the school produced to honor their coach.

Nelson grew up in Dawson, Minnesota. FOX 9 reports that after his father died in a flu outbreak when Edor was 9, his mother auctioned off the family farm and raised four children by waiting tables.

Nelson tells FOX a positive attitude is the most important thing to have. He says that's what helped him survive his months in the POW camps, where he lost 60 pounds before escaping with two other prisoners. They made their way on foot across Poland and Russia to safety on the Black Sea.

And Edor's path led back to the Minneapolis campus that felt like home then – and on the 100th anniversary of his birth.

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