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Former BYU quarterback Gifford Nielsen called to be a General Authority

Published: Tuesday, July 7 2015 1:42 a.m. MDT

Retired BYU coach LaVell Edwards, center, poses with four former quarterbacks, from left, John Beck, Robbie Bosco, Elder Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer. Coach Edwards was this recipient this day of the 2013 Paul Retired BYU coach LaVell Edwards, center, poses with four former quarterbacks, from left, John Beck, Robbie Bosco, Elder Gifford Nielsen and Ty Detmer. Coach Edwards was this recipient this day of the 2013 Paul "Bear" Bryant Lifetime Achievement Award. Photo by Kelly Foss. (Jason Swensen, Deseret News)

Gifford Nielsen is a household name amongst the BYU faithful. The Provo High School product went on to become an All-American quarterback at BYU under head coach LaVell Edwards.

That's why some ears may have perked up Saturday afternoon when they heard the name S. Gifford Nielsen announced as one of the General Authorities for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to serve in the First Quorum of the Seventy.

According to the church's newsroom website, "Elder S. Gifford Nielsen, 58, was serving as an Area Seventy in the North America Southwest Area when he was called to the First Quorum of the Seventy. He has served in many Church callings, including seminary teacher, elders quorum president, mission presidentís counselor, bishop, stake president and Area Seventy.

Nielsen received a bachelorís degree from Brigham Young University. He played professional football for six years and worked in television broadcasting and banking."

Gifford Nielsen presents award to former BYU basketball coach Stan Watts.  Stan's wife Emily is in the center of the photo. photo by ravell call jan. 31, 1998 (Ravell Call, Deseret News) Gifford Nielsen presents award to former BYU basketball coach Stan Watts. Stan's wife Emily is in the center of the photo. photo by ravell call jan. 31, 1998 (Ravell Call, Deseret News)

He was born in Provo, and is married to Wendy Olson. They are the parents of six children and currently reside in Sugar Land, Texas.

Nielsen was drafted by the Houston Oilers in the third round of the 1978 NFL Draft, where he played six seasons. He was the first Utahn to be named as a first-team All-American during his junior year at BYU after leading the nation in TD passes (29) and finishing second in total offense (3,192 yds). Nielsen was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1994.

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