Heather Leverington Dotterer
Heather Leverington Dotterer
Born: February 2, 1979 (Wichita, KS)
Graduated: Flinthills High School, 1997 / Emporia State University, 2002
It all started with throwing a shot put in the front yard with her dad. Heather Leverington found the shot put at school. Mr. Leverington got a four-by-six for her to stand behind and told her to start throwing it and try throwing it further each time. Eventually, Leverington would spend hours throwing the shot put. It became her life.
After graduating from Flinthills High in Rosalia, Leverington went to Emporia State University. As a freshman, Leverington was inspired by Tressa Thompson, a three-time shot put champion at Nebraska, and got shot put training in exchange for Twizzlers. Was that trade worth it, Heather?
Leverington became a dominant force in NCAA Division II women’s shot put. From 1999 to 2001, Leverington became a two-time outdoor shot put champion, three-time indoor shot put champion, two-time outdoor shot put record-setter, three-time outdoor shot put All-American, two-time indoor shot put All-American and outdoor hammer throw All-American.
In 2000, Leverington went to the Olympic trials, finishing ninth. Despite missing out on the Olympics, it was a moment she will never forget, being able to hear her dad over 25,000 people in the crowd and competing with some of the best shot putters in the world.
In 2002, Leverington was named the NCAA Kansas Woman of the Year. At this point, she cemented herself as one of the most accomplished female athletes in Kansas history. She wasn’t quite done yet.
After graduating from Emporia State, Leverington went to the University of South Dakota to be a graduate assistant coach. After three years at South Dakota, Leverington went back to Emporia State to become the assistant track and field coach. After three years at Emporia State, Leverington finally got the opportunity to become a head track and field coach at Lock Haven University.
At Lock Haven, Leverington had a tremendous amount of success. She won Coach of the Year awards, she coached several All-Americans, she brought Lock Haven to D2 national championship appearances. Lock Haven reached new heights under the tenure of Leverington.
In 2016, Leverington had a double lung transplant as a result of health issues she had dealt with and was dealing with, including lupus, polymyositis and pulmonary hypertension. After her transplant, Leverington decided to compete in the U.S. Transplant Games. She won gold medals in the shot put and discus in 2018 and followed this up by winning a silver medal in the shot put and a bronze medal in the discus in 2019.
On June 18, 2020, Leverington announced her retirement from coaching after her 18th year coaching the men’s and women’s track and field programs at Lock Haven, South Dakota and Emporia State so that she could focus on her health and family. Leverington is in the process of making a book to share her experience with her transplant.
Please welcome Heather Leverington Dotterer to the Kansas Sports Hall of Fame.
By: Sam Hays