Thursday, Feb. 19, 2009 | 5 p.m.
Whether it was coaching, building athletic programs or hiring quality coaches, Carol Leavitt was highly involved in Southern Nevada high school sports during her 35 years with the Clark County School District.
Leavitt was Centennial High's first principal, hiring the Bulldogs' initial coaching staff and helping build a strong athletic tradition at the school. She retired in June 2002.
For her efforts, Leavitt will be inducted into the Nevada Interscholastic Activities Association Hall of Fame during a ceremony at the Orleans Arena on Feb. 26. She joins Larry Burgess, Jim Duschen, Bruce Miller, Bruce Momsen, Aldeane Ries, Martin Taggart and Evan Wilson as the association's 17th hall of fame class.
"It's very humbling experience and a real honor to think that I contributed enough to the district to be recognized in this way," Leavitt said.
Leavitt will join her husband Howard Leavitt, a former basketball coach and athletic director at Bonanza for 19 years, in the hall. Howard Leavitt was inducted in 1998.
"Carol knows how important a good athletic program is, especially football. If it starts out well the whole school goes in the same flow," Howard Leavitt said.
Carol Leavitt began her career as a physical education teacher and intramural basketball and softball coach at Frank Garside Junior High from 1967 to 1970.
Leavitt took her first high school job as a dean, student council advisor and cheerleading coach at Valley from 1973 to 1976. She then was part of the original staff to open Bonanza, where she worked for 10 years as a counselor and cheerleading coach.
In 1986, Leavitt became an assistant principal at Helen C. Cannon Junior High, where she oversaw sports programs.
She spent one semester as an assistant principal at Western in 1990 before being hired as an assistant principal at yet-to-open Cheyenne in January 1991 — the school opened eight months later. In the interim, she played an integral role in developing Cheyenne's uniforms, mascot and hiring its coaching staff.
Leavitt became a principal for the first time in 1994 at Valley. With Silverado opening shortly before that, Leavitt took it upon herself to rebuild Valley's sports programs.
"When Silverado opened, a lot of Valley's population and teachers went there," Leavitt said. "We had to wake it up again, bring in new people, bring in new ideas and get the athletic program off the ground again."
Leavitt enlisted the help of big league pitcher Greg Maddux, a Valley alum, to remodel the school's baseball field.
"The field was really in shambles, full of holes, the grass was awful and the bleachers were falling apart," Leavitt said. "I called Greg Maddux and he agreed it didn't look very good. I asked if he would help us and he did. We named it Greg Maddux Field."
Leavitt's final stop came in 1999 when she was Centennial's original principal, hiring several coaches she worked with at Cheyenne and Valley.
"They were people that had a real interest in kids being successful," Leavitt said. "Together we built a good foundation to build on for the future."
Leavitt's name is forever remembered at Centennial as the football stadium was named after her during a game in October 2002, four months after she retired.
Christopher Drexel can be reached at 990-8929 or email@example.com.