Nelson to step down from NIAA

Donnie Nelson

Donnie Nelson

Before Donnie Nelson began his career with the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association, he was sports editor of The Record-Courier.

Nelson was hired in spring 1997, with his first three bylined stories in the March 27, 1997, edition of the newspaper. After a year covering Douglas sports, Nelson moved on to the association serving as its information director before being promoted through the ranks to director last year.

“I've poured my heart and soul into making high school sports not just relevant in our communities but prominent within the Silver State’s landscape,” Nelson said on announcing his impending retirement on Friday. “I have always wanted the North and the South, the East and the West – from the 1A through the 5A – to work collectively and collaboratively to make us the best association possible.

Nelson was one of a handful of sports editors at the paper after the departure of Association Hall of Famer and Outstanding Nevada Journalist Dave Price in 1996.

Nelson said he will be stepping down as the executive director of the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association on June 1.

The NIAA is the governing body of high school sports in Nevada.

Nelson, who has worked for the NIAA for 26 years, took the role of executive director in April 2022.

Previously, he was interim executive director, starting in August 2021 after Bart Thompson retired.

“I have had the distinct honor and privilege to serve on behalf of the NIAA's student-athletes, coaches, administrators, athletic directors, secretaries, officials and families/friends for half of my life. However, it is time now – after 26 years of employment in this fantastic association – to say ‘goodbye’ and turn over the reins to someone else,” said Nelson in a statement.

Nelson says he will continue to be dedicated to his post until the end of the school year.

“It is my intent to serve with the same, absolute dedication and focus throughout the remainder of this academic-athletic year. We still have a lot to accomplish between now and then.”

“I hope the next leader of our fantastic organization will be able to continue to move everything forward positively and productively. It is my sincere wish that the next NIAA E.D. (executive director) will see avenues through which to accomplish what may (or may not) be continued goals, objectives and visions.”


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