Legendary Penn State Associate AD for Strategic Communications Jeff Nelson to Retire
UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Associate Athletics Director for Strategic Communications Jeff Nelson, who has promoted the academic and athletic efforts of thousands of Penn State student-athletes for nearly 26 years, has announced he will retire from the University, effective July 31, 2019.
(Photo courtesy of Penn State University)
“It’s been an incredible 25 years with Penn State Athletics and I’m excited about what the next chapter will bring for myself and our family,” said Nelson, who joined Penn State Athletics in 1993. “From the very beginning, I’ve felt that everyone at Penn State tries to do things the right way — with integrity, passionate dedication and attention to detail, to provide the greatest experience possible for our students.”
Nelson served for nearly 30 years as a member of the College Sports Information Directors of American (CoSIDA) Academic All-America® Committee and was the recipient of the 2017 Lester Jordan Award for exemplary service to the committee and promotion of the student-athlete ideal. He was recognized for his professional fortitude with CoSIDA’s Bill Esposito Backbone Award in 2012 and earned the organization’s 25-year award in 2010.
From West Lafayette, Indiana, Nelson came to Happy Valley in 1993 after eight years in the sports information office at Holy Cross, the last six as director of the Crusaders’ department. At Penn State, he served as the football program’s primary communications contact for 22 years, was promoted to assistant athletic director in 2001 and in 2015 was elevated to associate athletic director. During his tenure at Penn State, Nelson has provided direction and counsel for Penn State administrators, coaches and students.
“Jeff Nelson has been synonymous with Penn State and Penn State Athletics for 26 years,” said Sandy Barbour, Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics. “For me, Jeff has been a fountain of knowledge and has provided guidance and wisdom in the ‘Penn State Way.’ We will dearly miss the Nelsons and wish them nothing but joy, happiness and success in their next adventure.”
A student assistant in the Indiana University sports information office, Nelson graduated from IU in 1983 with a degree in journalism and gained additional experience during the spring of 1984 when the U.S. Olympic Basketball Trials and Mini-Camp were held in Bloomington, Indiana. He worked for one year as a sports reporter for the Kokomo (Ind.) Tribune before launching his sports information career at the College of the Holy Cross.
“There are far too many people to thank for the many blessings and opportunities I’ve had during my nearly 34 years in intercollegiate athletics,” Nelson said. “I will forever be appreciative of Kit Klingelhoffer and Susan Williams as a student assistant at IU, Gregg Burke for giving me the chance to join the athletic communications profession at Holy Cross and Budd Thalman for the opportunity to come to the very special place that is Penn State.”
Nelson and his wife, Julia, are the parents of three children, Joel and Hannah, who are Penn State students, and T.J., who attends State College Area High School.
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