Article reposted from nwi.com
Author: John Doherty
The Indiana Athletic Trainers’ Association holds its annual meeting in late October each year like clockwork. Every meeting includes an awards ceremony and a Hall of Fame induction.
The first Hall of Fame honoree came in 1990 when Purdue University’s William “Pinky” Newell, the father of athletic training, was inducted posthumously.
Since then, at least one IATA member has been so honored annually, except in 2006. In a typical year, two or three go in. This year, however, only one was named and it was long overdue.
Valparaiso High School’s Kathy Levandoski is the sole honoree.
Levandoski arrived back at Valparaiso after four years at Kankakee Valley High School in 1988. I say, “back” because she graduated a Viking.
From there, it was on to the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater where she was the last of a dying breed, the three-sport college athlete. She was great at two of them — volleyball and softball — serving as a team captain in both sports before graduating summa cum laude. She was inducted into the UW-Whitewater Athletics Hall of Fame in 1999.
Naturally, upon her return to Valparaiso and being accustomed to multitasking, Levandoski became the head softball coach, an assistant girls basketball coach and an athletic trainer.
“I remember when she was a student (at Valparaiso) and athletics has been her career,” said former Vikings football coach and athletic director Mark Hoffman. “She always has time for every sport. She always has time for every athlete. The patience and the way she deals with every athlete is just unbelievable. She is also a special needs teacher and has been outstanding in that capacity. She takes great care of (her students) and loves them as if they were her own. Being honored by the (IATA) Hall of Fame is well deserved.”
Levandoski stepped down as the head softball coach after 22 seasons and four sectional championships in 2010. She continued as a basketball assistant for another two years before stepping down from that position, but remains as an athletic trainer.
“I was on the first Valparaiso High School sectional (girls) basketball championship team as a player in 1978,” she said. “ And I was part of the coaching staff for the last one in 2004.”
How has she done so much over so many years?
She credits her parents for coming to so many games and her husband, Tom, for being so patient. “He’s a former baseball coach (at Portage),” she said, “and he understands weird schedules.”
Former Vikings boys and girls basketball coach Joe Otis echoed Hoffman’s comments about their former colleague.
“I’ve known ‘Lev’ for a long time not just as an athletic trainer, but as a coach and, ultimately, as a teaching colleague. It’s pretty safe to say that she’s excelled in all areas,” he said. “Her induction into (the IATA) Hall of Fame is richly deserved, because successful coaches know that athletic trainers are the unsung heroes of athletics. They toil in obscurity and there is no category in the box score for getting a player healthy and back in the game. She brings her ‘A’ game to everything she does and for being that kind of person, she will always be in my Hall of Fame.”