BHS Alum Amanda Levens Shines As Div. I Basketball Coach


Amanda Levens banner, her jersey was retired on February 8th.

Brynn Kirkland, Staff Writer

As soon as Amanda Levens started playing basketball she couldn’t get enough; she was always looking to get better whether it was by watching a game, dribbling outside, or shooting around, she put in the extra work in order to become the exceptional athlete that she was.

“You just gotta work, I always wanted to do something every day to become a better basketball player, ” Levens said. “Every single day I wanted to do something to get better and I think that’s what it takes, and you need other people on your team that have that same mindset that are willing to sacrifice.”

Levens attended Belvidere High School where she was a star player on the girls’ basketball team and broke multiple school basketball records which she still holds today.

Josh Sternquist, Athletic Director at BHS, attended high school with Levens and witnessed her accomplishments and success firsthand. 

“Her hunger, her fire, was insatiable, and the only person that could’ve stopped her was herself and she didn’t,” Sternquist said. “That’s a common theme with a lot of young athletes: the only person that can stop you is yourself. There’s enough resources out here, enough people here to let you just go, the only person that is going to stop you is yourself at some point, and it comes through different avenues, but nobody stopped her and she just kept going”

After graduating from BHS, she continued her basketball career at Old Dominion University for two years, until she transferred to Arizona State University where she continued her career. Levens shined at ASU, breaking two records for most three-pointers and most free throws in a season.

Once she wrapped up her college career, she signed a free agent contract with the Charlotte Sting of the WNBA, but unfortunately was released before the regular season started. 

After earning her business degree in history from Arizona State and her masters in educational leadership at the University of Nevada, she became an assistant basketball coach for the women’s program at Nevada.

One of Levens’s career goals was to become a Div. I head coach by the time she was 30, which she accomplished; she became the head coach of the women’s basketball team at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville at the age of 29. 

Levens has strong roots from growing up in Belvidere and all the memories from her time living there. 

“She was energetic, had a smile on her face, loved playing sports, loved being a buc, and she made what she could out of her experience here, and I think it catapulted her,” Sternquist said. 

Levens credits her strong work ethic to watching her hardworking parents from a young age: her mother going back to school and working at the table, and her father working at the Chrysler plant in Belvidere. 

Aside from her athletic achievements, when asked what her greatest accomplishment was, she said: “Becoming a parent. I have two adopted sons, and when you’re coaching, you’re really impacting young people and serving as a mentor, so you’re kind of playing a parent role in their lives. However, when it’s your own children you’re completely responsible for them.”

When it comes to the Belvidere community, Levens is proud of her hometown and the community she grew up around. 

“I’m very proud to be from the 815 community, very proud to be from the midwest,” she said. “I think who I am was completely influenced by the way of life, how hard people worked, how people supported our team, the great coaches that we had that really cared about us.

“All of that helped me want to play basketball and helped me want to coach. I’m in this profession because I had great coaches that made me want to do that for other people.”

Feb. 8, 2022, during the Belvidere Girls Basketball Senior night, she was inducted into the Belvidere Hall of Fame. Her jersey number, 11, was also retired. 

“You play because you love the sport and you enjoy your teammates, so being honored in that regard is pretty amazing,” Levens said. “To be so well-regarded by other people, when ultimately when I was there playing I was just doing what I loved, and so for other people to look back and say what I did was pretty special is just very humbling, and I’m honored that they would think of me in that way.”

Leven’s time at Belvidere and all her achievements following has been an extremely motivating and influential story for students at BHS to take with them. 

“I think what can be left behind is our student athletes embrace Belvidere and what it is,” Sternquist said. “Love your time here, and use it to strengthen you. You’ll be surprised how great of a city we live in and when you leave here how strong it made you.”