Nelson Elijah Townsend was an American college athletics administrator. Townsend served seven tenures as athletic director at four different universities: the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Delaware State University (1979–1986), Florida A&M University and the University at Buffalo (1987–1999). He was the University at Buffalo's first African American athletic director. At both Delaware State and Buffalo, Townsend was responsible for leading the athletic department to achieve full NCAA Division I status, as both schools transitioned from lower levels of NCAA hierarchy. Townsend was inducted to the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame in 1995 and was inducted to both the University of Maryland Eastern Shore and National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Halls of Fame in 2012.
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