Perry’s Terry Nielsen is used to being in a position that has to make decisions.
During the day he is President and CEO of Raccoon Valley Bank. He also has authority in his “other job” that being a football referee.
Friday saw Nielsen achieve a great honor for any official, as he was chosen to serve as referee for the Class 2A State Championship football game at the UNI-Dome. Waukon was a 28-14 winner over Central Lyon/George-Little Rock.
The referee is the crew member wearing the white hat. He signals penalties and has official control of the game clock.
Nielsen was working his first grid title contest after serving in “10 or more” semifinal games.
“It is always an honor to work in the playoffs, because it is based on recommendations from athletic directors and coaches from the year before,” he explained. “Knowing you have been chosen by the group of people most closely watching you is very fulfilling.”
Nielsen has officiated football for a total of 26 years. He took a brief hiatus a few years back, but, after recovering from knee surgery, returned to the gridiron.
His journey began in Eastern Iowa and has since led to duties across the state. He has rarely worked Class 4A games and only once worked an 8-player contest.
In addition to prep football, he has served as an official in Division II and Division III and is currently working in NAIA play, chiefly the Great Plains conference. His alma mater, Morningside — where he played both baseball and football — is a GPAC member.
Nielsen stepped down from basketball officiating duties five years ago after running the hardwood for 20 years.
“It was a great honor,” Nielsen said of working the 2A Championship. “You really develop close friendships with your normal crew, and with some of the other officials — it is a kind of brotherhood. I have been lucky to work with a lot of great officials over the years and I owe all of them a lot.”