Keith Nielson Athlete Profile

Keith Nielson

Keith Nielson
Height: 6-2 Roster Years: 1964-1968 Hometown: Long Beach, CA Hall of Fame: 1987 Last School: Pepperdine

  • 1987 Men's Tennis




All-America

  • 1967
  • 1968

1987 Hall of Fame Inductee

BYU's first All-American in tennis, Keith Nielson was still winning championships in his sport years after graduating from the "Y."

Keith came to BYU from Pepperdine University where he had won their Freshman Athlete of the Year award in 1964. Following a year of red-shirting, he traveled to Europe with the BYU team, where he won the Welsh Junior Men's Singles Championship in Bristol.

In 1966 Keith was a member of BYU's Western Athletic Conference championship team. The following year he was the #1 singles and doubles player on the team, received all-WAC academic honors, and became the first BYU tennis player named to the All-America team.

In 1968, Keith was once again the #1 singles and doubles player at BYU, earned all-WAC academic recognition, and made the All-America team. At the NCAA tournament that year he was seeded #10 nationally in singles and #5 in doubles.

At one tournament in 1968, Keith beat Bob Lutz, that year's National Collegiate Champion, and Stan Smith, who became National Collegiate Champion the following year and went on to a Wimbledon victory three years later.

After graduation from BYU, Keith served an LDS mission to Brazil, then returned to become head pro at first the Palos Verdes Tennis Club and then at the Emerald Bay Tennis Club in California. He won the National Team Doubles Championship with Dick Leach in 1974 as a member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association.

In 2014, Keith was inducted into the Utah Tennis Hall of Fame. 

Personal

  • Served an LDS church mission to Brazil

Career Highlights

  • All-American, Second Team, 1967
  • Played No. 1 Singles and Doubles in 1967
  • Defeated Jim Osborn, Joaquin Loyo Mayo, Bob Lutz and Brian Cheney

Before BYU

  • Came to BYU from Pepperdine University where he had won their Freshman Athlete of the Year award in 1964

After BYU

  • Served an LDS church mission
  • Returned home to become head pro at first the Palos Verdes Tennis Club and then at the Emerald Bay Tennis Club in California

Post BYU Honors and Societies

  • Won the National Team Doubles Championship with Dick Leach in 1974 as a member of the U.S. Professional Tennis Association
  • Inducted into the BYU Hall of Fame in 1987


1964-1965 | Redshirt Year

  • Redshirted after transferring from Pepperdine University

1965-1966 | Sophomore Year

  • Traveled to Europe during the summer with the BYU team, where he won the Welsh Junior Men's Singles Championships in Bristol
  • Was a member of BYU's WAC championship team

1966-1967 | Junior Year

  • Was the No. 1 singles and doubles player on the team
  • Received All-WAC Academic honors
  • Became the first BYU tennis player named to the All-American team

1967-1968 | Senior Year

  • Was once again the No.1 singles and doubles player at BYU
  • Earned All-WAC academic recognition
  • Made the All-America team
  • Was seeded No.10 nationally in singles and No. 5 in doubles at the NCAA tournament
  • Beat Bob Lutz, that year's National Collegiate Champion, and Stan Smith, who became National Collegiate Champion the following year and went on to a Wimbeldon victory three years later