Dick Dotson dies at age 72 - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Dick Dotson dies at age 72

WATERLOO (KWWL) -- The Cedar Valley has lost an iconic educator, coach, athlete and friend. Richard ‘Dick' Dotson died Saturday at age 72.

His death follows a remarkable decade in which the popular retired teacher and coach survived a heart attack and underwent a life-saving heart transplant at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester.

Dotson was a 1957 Waterloo East High School graduate and long-time Waterloo West High School teacher and coach.

Dick Dotson was a multi-sport athlete for the East High Trojans. He was East High's Most Valuable Athlete in 1957.  From East High, Dick went on to the Iowa State Teacher's College, now the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, where he was a star in both basketball and track and field for the Panthers. Dick was an NCAA Champion in the pole vault. He was one of the first athletes elected to the UNI Athletic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of the Waterloo East High School Hall of Fame.

Dick Dotson was a teacher and coach at Waterloo West for 35 years. He coached the Wahawks of West High to State Championships in both track and field and cross country, and touched the lives of literally hundreds of students and athletes, including KWWL Sports Director, Rick Coleman, a Waterloo West graduate, who often called Dick Dotson his ‘surrogate' father and his ‘favorite' person. Rick says Dick was much more than his teacher and track coach at West High. Rick describes Dick as a man who truly cared about people, and of course his wife, Betty, and his children. Dick was also a man whom helped students through a troubling time. Rick says Dick made the young African American students feel welcome and at home at West, during the time of school busing and racial strife in the City of Waterloo.

In 1999, Dick nearly died from a heart attack. The heart attack was so severe, Dotson was told he would need a heart transplant just to survive. He more than survived. Dick had to wait six months, but he successfully underwent the heart transplant. The transplant not only saved him, it helped add an extra ten years to the life of this remarkably amazing man, whose influence had already served as a positive motivator for decades.

Dick loved the game of golf and often played four or five times a week with his many close friends, including Bob Klieman.

For many years, Dotson and Klieman teamed up as referees at the high school and college levels. They were highly respected across Iowa and the Midwest, and often earned the honor of being selected to referee at the Boys State Basketball Tournament, including State Championship games. On the college front, Dotson and Klieman worked the Big 8 Conference and also earned the respect of college coaches and fans.

In 1996, Dick was selected as one of the Cedar Valley's ‘local' heroes. He was selected to carry the Olympic Torch in the Olympic Torch Relay through Waterloo and Cedar Falls.

Funeral arrangements for Dotson have not been announced.

Online Reporter:  Ron Steele

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