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New athletic director in charge at Lake Roosevelt

Levi Seekins sees athletics as part of the mission

 

New athletic director Levi Seekins fills the doorway to the Gailord Nelson Gym at Thursday's volleyball game. - Jacob Wagner photo

Grand Coulee Dam School District has hired a new athletic director this year. Levi Seekins, 32, brings with him experience both as an athlete and as a coach, and he sees athletics as "just a different classroom" that's part of a larger goal.

At 6 feet, 6 inches tall, Levi Seekins is hard to miss when you see him at the games or towering in the halls of Lake Roosevelt Junior Senior High School. Growing up in the area, Seekins played sports here all his life. In high school Seekins played Lake Roosevelt football, basketball, and baseball all four years. Now back in the area after 15 years, Seekins has taken the position of athletic director at his former stomping grounds.

In the 2001-2002 season, Seekins' senior year at LR, the Raiders won the league and went to state for football and baseball, and were ranked fourth in the state in basketball. Seekins was All-State in both football and basketball.

After high school, Seekins went to Vanguard University in Costa Mesa, California, where he graduated in 2006 with a business management degree. Seekins played basketball there all four years and also ran track for two. He was named an All-American in basketball, in addition to being named an All-American in academics. His senior year there, the Vanguard Lions went to the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics National Tournament for the second time in school history.

"It was what they make movies about," Seekins said.

Seekins then played professional basketball in Australia for a year with the Griffith Demons before going back to Vanguard for about a decade as assistant basketball coach, in addition to coaching strength and conditioning. In 2014, Seekins' final year there, Vanguard won the NAIA Men's National Championship.

"I went to school at Vanguard and was then able to give back to that community ... and I went to school here and I cherish the opportunity to give back to this community," Seekins said of his new athletic director position.

Seekins felt it was the right move at the right time.

"I've been coaching for a long time and I felt athletic director was a good next step for me and so I pursued it. I love Grand Coulee; of all the places I've lived, I really hold this place in high esteem. I loved being raised here. ... I thought it was a good place to raise my family. I'm still very connected here, I have friends and family here, so it was just a natural thing to come home."

Seekins has his hands full with his new job. He oversees all home games, all coaches and assistant coaches and helps them out if they need it with tough situations. He also has budgeting and purchasing duties, and is in charge of overseeing eligibility, "which is always a hot topic," he said. As AD, he's in charge of communication with parents who have questions or concerns, oversees all ticket sales, all volunteer workers and accommodates all visiting teams in their needs.

"I talk to the athletes," Seekins said. "I can be like another coach who's not actually a coach ... just somebody who they can talk to or help push them. I try and encourage them. I want to set good goals for them and to push them to succeed academically, athletically, and then also I want them to be strong young men and women of character. I want them to help improve the school, I want them to improve the community, and I want them to take pride in both of those."

Seekins explained his thoughts on the place of athleticism in the educational system. "Sports are just as important as anything academic," he said, "and I think they are very academic in nature. I think it's just a different classroom. Sports bring out a physicality in us, and we have to learn to train ourselves in a physical nature. We have to learn to work together with other people for a same goal, we have to learn how to sacrifice our wants and desires for the betterment of the team. The better players need to learn how to lead, and the not-quite-so-talented players have to learn how to be better teammates in that role that's not in the spotlight. Learning how to work well together is very important for students to learn. And athletics, at the very bottom of it, are fun. It's fun to get out there and compete while challenging yourself."

"You're not always gonna reach every kid," Seekins continued, "but you're going to reach enough kids that it always makes it worth it. You're going to see a good change. You should, in sports, create an environment where they're pushed, they're encouraged, their challenged, and where they feel part of something bigger than themselves."

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