MAY 14, 2021 — UTSA student Fernando “Fernie” Perez, a sport programs official at UTSA Campus Recreation, has received the National Intramural-Recreational Sports Association (NIRSA)’s All-American Honors, the highest award a student official can receive. Perez received the award at the 2022 National Basketball Championships.
Perez is one of six—out of a total of 33 officials across the U.S.—to achieve this honor.
Originally from Mission, Texas, Perez is a first-generation college student, graduating this May with a Bachelor of Science in kinesiology. He works in UTSA Campus Recreation, which enriches the wellbeing of the Roadrunner community by providing dynamic wellness programming at the Main Campus and the Downtown Campus.
He started his officiating career at UTSA and has worked for sport programs for five years, three of which he served as a student coordinator.
“Since my first day on campus, I have been working for sport programs,” Perez said.
To be selected to officiate at the NIRSA National Basketball Championships, student officials must receive a bid based on their performance at one of the championship games occurring throughout the nation. Notably, Perez is the first student from UTSA to officiate at both the NIRSA National Basketball and Flag Football Championships.
Whether regional or national, each tournament has an officials committee comprised of professionals in the field from various universities. All officials are evaluated for each game and provided feedback from the committee to improve their future performance.
Perez earned his first opportunity to officiate at a National Basketball Championship in 2019. He was also selected in 2020, but the tournament was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
When play resumed, Perez received a bid at the NIRSA Regional Basketball Championships at UT-Arlington in March 2022. He finished as the top official for the tournament.
Perez officiated nine games in three days at the National Basketball Championships in Wichita, Kansas, earlier this month. Due to his excellent performance, the NIRSA officials committee selected him to be the crew chief for the Men’s Club National Championship game.
Following the game, NIRSA recognized Perez as one of six All-American Officials.
“I am truly honored to give back to our program and represent UTSA at the national level,” he said.
He is the second student from UTSA to receive this honor. The first was Adreanna Broussard in 2015.
Perez credits Michael Castaneda, assistant director of sport programs, and Cy Fondal, coordinator of sport programs, for helping him achieve this honor.
“Even though this award is an individual award, it symbolizes much more,” Perez said. “I am fortunate to be a product of those in sport programs that have dedicated countless hours to developing me into the official I currently am.”
In his many years of service, Perez has been an indispensable part of the UTSA Campus Recreation sport programs team. “My journey in Campus Recreation has been nothing short of spectacular,” he said.
Perez is passionate about continuing his career in the field of recreation. He is currently officiating at the high school varsity level for basketball and the high school and collegiate level for football.
“The relationships I have built here have helped me grow immensely in my personal and professional life, which I am so grateful for,” Perez said. After graduation, he will become a graduate assistant for intramural sports at Texas A&M University.
UTSA is a Tier One research university and a Hispanic Serving Institution that is committed to tackling society’s grand challenges through world-class education and research programs. As an urban serving university, it is driving San Antonio’s knowledge economy, living out the notion that great universities need great cities and great cities need great universities.
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