John Nelson started playing volleyball in coed sand and indoor leagues as a teenager and later went on to play with his unit at Marine Corp Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He joined USA Volleyball as an adult player in Yakima, Washington and became a regional referee in 1992. Ever since then, John has given back to the sport teaching the next generation of officials and players.
John’s volleyball career followed him to stops at Fort Knox in Kentucky, and 29 Palms and Camp Pendleton in California. During this time, John officiated within the Southern California and Pioneer Regions working junior and men’s matches and earned his junior national referee rating in 1998. He moved home to Wisconsin in 2008 and joined the Badger Region where he continues to officiate junior, college club and men’s matches.
John not only officiates, but he serves as a trainer and mentor for officials as well as a clinician. As a clinician he has conducted numerous junior work crew clinics training junior players the skills they need to be a good work crew at their tournaments. John also conducts officials clinics, score clinics and on court observations for officials in the Badger Region. In 2015 he was selected as the Dale Rhode Silver Whistle Award winner by the players of the Wisconsin Volleyball Conference and was awarded the Robert L. Lindsay Meritorious Service Award in 2016.
John is currently a USA Volleyball retired junior national referee and PAVO national referee. His wife Sheila is a former USAV regional referee. Their daughter Emily plays in the 15-and-under age group and wants to start as a referee next season.