Richard V. Leavitt of the Class of 1976, a collegiate national champion in shot put and a standout lineman in football who played in the National Football League, you are as well known for your coaching acumen, caring, and sense of humor as you are for your remarkable achievements on the Bowdoin athletic fields. A two-time All American in shot put, you won the NCAA Division II national championship in 1975; it was your incomparable power, speed, and skill as an offensive lineman for the Bowdoin football team, however, that earned you contracts with both the New York Giants and Oakland Raiders of the NFL.
Your teammates, classmates, and friends remember you as “undeniably the best multisport athlete of our era,” and “a player in a league of his own.” And to the many current and former student athletes in Lewiston and across Maine who call you “Coach Leavitt,” you are, as one of them noted, a “living legend.” Despite all your athletic success at Bowdoin and beyond, though, all who have had the good fortune to play alongside you or be coached by you remember best your love of your teammates, your students, and the sports you so devotedly and expertly taught.
The athletes you have coached consistently refer to you as their mentor on and off the field, celebrating the personal and athletic growth you inspired in them through your support, encouragement, knowledge, and humor. One of your peers called you, simply, “among the best coaches I have known over my own thirty-year coaching career,” citing both your tactical brilliance and your emotional intelligence. Another colleague, who mentioned the popular “Leavittisms”—one-liners and expressions coined by you and used by many who know you—said he hoped and believed you would be “rightfully remembered as a great athlete, a great teacher and mentor, and a great ambassador for the Bowdoin community.”