NICK THOMPSON, TRUMPET SPORTS EDITOR
Buzz Levick was the longtime Wartburg College men’s basketball coach, leading the Knights from 1965 to 1993, compiling a 510-226 record, and claiming 14 Iowa Conference championships – nine of them consecutive — in his time at the helm of the basketball team. Levick Arena, a campus landmark, bears his name.
His legend extended off the court. Levick was not just known as a good basketball coach though, he was a mentor and friend.
On April 26, 2021, Lewis “Buzz” Levick died at age 94.
“Coach Levick was a great mentor to many former players and coaches. It wasn’t so much discussing strategies as providing the support for our program in many different ways,” said Dick Peth, Wartburg’s current men’s basketball coach. “He enjoyed learning about the team and especially the incoming class and who can help us immediately. He was a great ambassador not only to our basketball program but also to Wartburg College.”
Levick’s outreach was not limited to just Wartburg; he was part of Waverly.
“Buzz was and still is someone that is well-known in the community. He made a difference to the Wartburg community, and to the Waverly community as a whole. The success that he endured at his time at Wartburg will never die within this community,” Claire Marsh, fourth-year volleyball player, said.
Once a men’s basketball player left the Wartburg program, Levick remembered them. Dr. Steve Schulz, an ’83 grad, is testament to that. Schulz is now the president at North Iowa Area Community College and finds lessons Levick taught him he now uses.
“He would teach preparation and doing the work up-front and success would follow that work. I still find myself talking about them when I talk to the student-athletes at NIACC about doing the right thing. I also talk to them about making sure their actions open doors and doesn’t close them. That is something else Buzz would try and make us remember,” Schulz said.
Levick would also keep in contact with players after they have left the program. He would also answer the phone, day or night, if a former player needed it.
“He tracked us players and would know what we would be up to. At some level he would feel like a family member that you would have to check up on periodically. Whenever I came back to a Wartburg game I would call him up. When the W opened up, coach was the one that wanted to give me a tour,” Schulz said.
Wartburg basketball normally holds an annual Buzz Levick tournament every year. This year, the title and what the tournament means have changed.
“Our basketball team has hosted the Buzz Levick tournament in November for several years. We feel this is a great tribute to name our tournament after legendary Coach Levick. This year will be the first annual Buzz Levick Memorial Tournament hosted Nov. 19-20. We host Cornell, Monmouth and Wisconsin Lutheran this season,” Peth said.
The basketball teams are not the only ones that use the gym for games though. Volleyball practices and holds their home games in the gym that holds Levick’s name. This fact has not slipped the minds of the players.
“Every day when we walk in the gym to practice, and every time we have a home game we step onto the court honoring him by giving 100% all of the time,” Marsh said.