Viewmont High School honoring ‘Stat Man’ for decades of services

Feb 2, 2024, 9:10 AM | Updated: 8:04 pm

BOUNTIFUL — Viewmont High School will honor a sports icon on Friday — not for his performance on the field but for the work he does behind the scenes.

KSL’s Tamara Vaifanua introduces us to the beloved stat man.

Jed Neilson has never worn a sports uniform, but he knows all the records Viewmont athletes have racked up in the past four decades.

Over the years, Viewmont High athletes have come and gone, but there’s been a constant in the department for 46 years.

“A lot of the kids didn’t know my name and they would see me at all the games. So rather than try to figure out what my name was, they just started calling me ‘stats’ or ‘stat man,’” he said.

Neilson picked up his love of stats when he was 13 years old.

“I started with church ball, years ago,” he said. “They taught me how to keep score and how to run the clock.”

In eighth grade, the Viewmont High football coach recruited Neilson to keep track of their stats.

After serving a mission for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he got back into it and helped with basketball and baseball.

“Like all of a sudden my year calendar was going off of what season we were in,” Neilson said.

His wife Mary said it’s a family affair.

“With our four daughters, they have literally come since they were babies,” she said. “We call them gym rats because that’s all they know.”

As a Viewmont High alum, witnessing their milestones is an honor. “Most memorable was 1993,” he said, recalling the Vikings’ ’93 basketball season. “We won the state championship. We went 24-0 that year. We were ranked nationally in the MaxPreps and USA Today polls, and had an incredible team.”

With more experience – he added onto his resume – taking stats for the Utah Jazz and the University of Utah.

Neilson never counted on turning his passion into a 46-year career. He encouraged athletes to find what they love and to work hard.

“Don’t be a quitter,” he said. “If you’re going to do something, stick it out.”

Jed Neilson is also a substitute teacher at Viewmont. He said he feels fortunate to create bonds with students on and off the court.

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Viewmont High School honoring ‘Stat Man’ for decades of services