By Doug Brenneman,
At 6 foot, 6 inches, Kurt Levetzow is an imposing figure even though he weighs less that the 275 pounds he carried as an offensive lineman for Iowa State University.
Levetzow, who starts his ninth year as an assistant football coach for Washington High School, blocked for Troy Davis, who owns numerous Cyclone rushing records and was the first running back in Division I to gain 2,000 yars in each of two different seasons.
?That is my claim to fame. My most memorable moment playing football was having the privilege of getting to block for Troy Davis,? Levetzow said. ?If you just gave the guy a seam for a moment, he was through the hole. He worked and played so hard, the way he treated his teammates was awesome. He was a great teammate. We did things the right way on that team under Coach Dan McCarney.?
Levetzow received a scholarship to ISU after playing track, basketball, offensive and defensive line, tight end and even some running back at East Central High School in Miles, graduating in 1993.
Levetzow graduated ISU with with an agricultural studies degree and went to work in Des Moines for the state hygienics lab at the University of Iowa and did contract work for the Iowa DNR. He now works for the Department of Natural Resources as an environmental inspector. He has been in Washington since transferring in 2010.
He is the defensive line coach for the Demons and has a newly created position.
?I am really looking forward to the role of character coordinator because integrity and character are so important,? Levetzow said. ?If we can get kids to pick up one bit of the things that we are pushing on them, it is going to be worth it. There is so much more to football then the X?s and O?s.?
It is obvious that those traits mean a lot to Levetzow.
His most memorable moment coaching is not a moment and it didn?t happen on the field.
?I would say it is just seeing kids grow from a character standpoint,? Levetzow said. ?It?s fun on Friday night being under the lights. I enjoy that, but I really enjoy seeing growth from students? perspective as it relates to their real life. Seeing a kid around town and they say ?Hi Coach Lev,? that means a lot to me.?
Since the character coordinator role is new, Levetzow is still working out what it all will entail.
?I?m excited to shape it into what I think it should be,? Levetzow said.
It will involve keeping track of the guys on and off the field, making sure they are getting schoolwork done, making sure they keep their grades up so that they are eligible.
?(Head) Coach (James) Harris wants it to be trackable, measurable,? Levetzow said. ?We know we want to be able to track progress. The emphasis will be both on- and off-the-field progress for the guys.?
Character is not only a part of how one behaves, but also how they play.
?We stress little things,? Levetzow said. ?All the little things add up over time, like how you treat people and how hard you work.?
Having the discipline to keep their grades up will be indicative of their commitment to working hard on the field.
?Some of the things we stress every day are attitude and effort,? Levetzow said. ?We also have talked a lot about working hard. I think that something that we really need to stress is giving good effort and working hard because they are things that are necessary on the football field, but they are also necessary in life. If I can impart those principles into the youth, it is very rewarding.?
Levetzow knows all about working hard and he learned from sports.
?In college, I had to work my butt off to see playing time,? he said. ?I was undersized at 6-6, 275. They wanted me to weigh 290 so I was always being stuffed full of feed at the training table.?
He learned many things under his college coaches that he didn?t learn in high school.
?I was not taught all of the fine intricacies of the game like I learned in college,? Levetzow said. ?Hand placement, head placement, proper pad level -- now these are some of the things I want to teach high school kids.?
That takes a lot of time on the practice field, but that is the time Levetzow treasures.
?I love practice because it means being around the kids and I get to work with them,? he said. ?Seeing kids grow on and off the field is my favorite part of coaching.?
The practice time allows him to share his knowledge.
?The thing about coaching is it gives us a chance to have meaning and impact in a kid?s life and that?s the reason why I have done it for nine years,? Levetzow said. ?I learned a lot from all of my coaches. You pick up bits and pieces from each of them and that information is what I want to pass along. If the kids can retain just a little bit of it, it will be worth it to me.?
One thing he learned from his offensive line coach in college -- never be late -- is already a part of the Washington program and it?s called Demon Time, which is always show up five minutes ahead of the scheduled time.
?The one time I was late, Coach worked me on the treadmill for like 45 minutes, and it was hard.?
Levetzow also learned how to inteact with someone who has done wrong.
?We just talked. Coach did not yell. That is something that I have always remembered. Kids do not need to be yelled at. They don?t need to be chewed out. Discipline is so important. I think kids long for that. They need boundaries. But they don?t need to get chewed out.?
Instruction does not need to be heard from a loud voice.
?My coaches instilled the discipline of hard work and that is something I want to share,? Levetzow said. ?I want to pull that up and bring them forward.?
Levetzow?s favorite part of playing football was the camaraderie with teammates.
?You develop a real bond with the guys you spend most of your time with, eating, working out, training all season long,? he said. ?You only get to play for about 10 hours total in a season, so the season is really about preparation.?
There are so many life skills that come from the game of football.
?That is one reason why I wanted to coach and be around the youth,? Levetzow said. ?I wanted to impart some of what I learned from my all of my coaches.?
Great life skills come from the game of football.
?The preparation is so important when it comes to actually playing,? Levetzow said. ?I learned a lot from the great game of football.?