Nielsen Receives Prestigious NCAA Silver Anniversary Award

Former BYU quarterback Gifford Nielsen was honored as a 2003 recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award. Nielsen earned acclaim as a record-setting quarterback at BYU before playing five years in the NFL.

(PROVO, Utah -- January 13, 2002) Former BYU quarterback Gifford Nielsen was honored as a 2003 recipient of the Silver Anniversary Award at the NCAA Convention in Anaheim, Calif. Nielsen and five other former student-athletes were recognized at the Honors Dinner, held Sunday, January 12.

The Silver Anniversary Award honors former student-athletes who completed their prominent collegiate athletic careers 25 years ago, and who have gone on to distinguish themselves in their professional careers.

Joining Nielsen, as a 2003 recipient, were Debbie Brown (USC); Dale Kramer (Carleton College); Kenneth MacAfee (Notre Dame); Ann Meyers Drysdale (UCLA); and Warren Moon (Washington).

Silver Anniversary Award winners were recognized by the NCAA Honors Committee, which is composed of administrators at member institutions and distinguished citizens who are former student-athletes.

A 1994 inductee to the College Football Hall of Fame, Nielsen earned acclaim as a record-setting quarterback at BYU before playing five years in the NFL. Named an All-American in 1976, he led Division I with 29 touchdown passes and posted NCAA-best single-game totals that year in total offense (445 yards), passing yards (468) and touchdown passes (five).

The three-time All-Western Athletic Conference performer, Nielsen was the WAC Player of the Year in 1976, and finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting. Nielsen set 13 WAC records during his football career. In 1977, he was named recipient of the Dale Rex Memorial Award, given annually to the person who has done the most for amateur athletics in Utah.

In addition to his football career, Nielsen played basketball for BYU during the 1974-75 season. A two-time member of the WAC's All-Academic Team, Nielsen was an NCAA Top V winner and postgraduate scholarship recipient in 1977.

Selected Top Sportscaster by the Football Foundation Hall of Fame, Houston Chapter, Nielsen has worked as sports director at KHOU-TV in Houston since 1984 and has served as a color commentator for NCAA football and basketball games.

Nielsen was inducted into the BYU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1987, and into Utah's Sports Hall of Fame and the Utah Summer Games Hall of Fame in 1992.

A member of the executive board of the Houston Area Council for the Boy Scouts of America for 16 years, Nielsen received the highest honor bestowed by a local council of the BSA in 2002.

He hosted the Giff Nielsen United Way Golf Tournament for 16 years and has raised more than $2.5 million for developing leadership qualities for youth in the Houston area. He also is the founding member and the first president of the BYU Varsity Club, for which he currently serves on the board of directors.