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Five Questions: Andy “Dott” Dotterweich talks coaching, personal interests

Brandon Paykamian • Nov 22, 2018 at 5:48 PM

Andy “Dott” Dotterweich, who works with the East Tennessee State University Olympic Training Site and serves as the university’s coordinator for long-term athlete development, has spent much of his time over the years pushing athletes to reach their full potential. 

Dotterweich is also a rugby enthusiast and works to promote children’s “physical literacy” through a program called RunJumpThrow, an initiative that recently gained him national attention by Team USA Track and Field. He said the best part about working at the Olympic Training Site is finding inspiration in athletes and current Olympians who each strive to overcome obstacles and reach the pinnacle of their physical abilities. 

Last week, the United States Sports Academy and Clemson University alumni emailed the Johnson City Press to tell us more about his job, his interests and ETSU Olympic Training Site initiatives. 

“Dott” Briefly: 

Favorite Sport: Rugby

Pets: A dog named Clancy. 

Hobbies: Outdoor recreation, hiking, biking, etc.

Favorite food: Thanksgiving Dinner. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, peas, squash and cranberry sauce. 

Biggest inspiration in life: His parents and children. 

What led you to your current profession?

I suppose a lot of it had to do with two important mentors I had in college. One was a passionate professor who instilled joy in learning and was an inspiring advocate for the profession, Dr. Fran McGuire. The other was my college coach, Frank Graziano, who taught me a lot of life lessons, gave me a great deal of perspective and challenged me both physically and mentally. Fast forward years later, and I found myself in a perfect storm. My current job is an amazing blend of my interests, my passions and my education. I get to learn, be creative and utilize all of the different tools that I have developed over a lifetime of education and experiences.

What are some memorable career moments that often come to mind for you?

The funny thing is that they are all these small, fleeting moments but they are wonderfully powerful and completely impact your core being. It is a hug from a kid who was having a bad day and I somehow made it better. It is a thank you, years later, from a former student or athlete. It is a tear on the cheek of someone who needed help and found an open door. It is a smile, or a laugh, or sometimes, just the satisfaction of knowing you did everything you could, yet continued to try. You aren’t always aware of the impact you have on others. Maybe that is why it is so overwhelming when it happens.

Can you tell our Johnson City Press readers more about your involvement with RunJumpThrow and why it is particularly important to you?

RunJumpThrow is one of our Long-Term Athlete (LTAD) endeavors. It is a track and field-based program which helps develop basic motor abilities. Our PE teachers do a wonderful job in our schools, but aren’t given near enough contact time with the kids. Children are growing up deficient in basic movement skills that would allow them to be active throughout their lives. The LTAD program of the Center of Excellence for Sport Science and Coach Education at ETSU aims to supplement the work being done by our schools by helping kids become more physically literate, improving physical performance, getting kids healthy, educating coaches and hopefully providing more positive and meaningful sport experiences.

What qualities do you think someone should have to succeed in your profession?

I think that just being a good human being is probably a good place to start. We work with people from all walks of life and you have to be able to put your differences aside and just be a good human being. As far as the coaching side goes, people can learn. Maybe this is the bigger obstacle. Sometimes people don’t want to learn. They have done something one way their entire lives and can’t be bothered with learning and changing. Just because you were coached one way and didn’t get hurt doesn’t mean it was the best or only way. You have to be flexible and you have to be humble. I make mistakes everyday, but I acknowledge them, I learn, and try to get better.

What else do you plan to do in the coming years?

If we are talking utopias here, I would love to be able to collaborate and coordinate with folks across the community and turn Johnson City, maybe the Tri-Cities area, into a national model for youth sport and activity development. My colleagues and I are working toward that, but change doesn’t happen overnight. We have some wonderful collaborators who provide funding, facilities and other resources, but we need to continue to grow to be able to make a widespread positive impact.

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