Madonna University Celebrates Coach Levania "Nia" Henderson's Induction into Kent State University's Varsity K Hall of Fame

Photo of Nia smiling

LIVONIA, MICH. – Madonna University Assistant Track and Field Coach Levania “Nia” Henderson, a name synonymous with excellence in athletics, was recently inducted into The Varsity K Hall of Fame at Kent State University. The Hall of Fame pays tribute to former student-athletes, coaches, and administrators who serve as role models and ambassadors for Kent State. Each inductee demonstrates spirit, sportsmanship, and dedication, thus earning the high esteem of the University community. This recognition is a personal triumph and proof of her commitment to the world of sports. 

When asked about the significance of this recognition, Coach Henderson shared, “Personally, it means a lot and has touched my heart. I do a lot and give a lot to this sport. Professionally, it shows that hard work pays off, and I can have this on my résumé, just like the NFL players and Olympians who also have been inducted.” 

Her journey into track and field was unanticipated. “The coaches stalked me throughout high school,” she chuckled. Her journey to becoming a thrower began during softball tryouts when she threw a basketball with one hand across the entire court. 

Mentorship is a crucial aspect of coaching, and for Henderson, her high school coach played a significant role. "He took me in like his own child, and that's the kind of influence coaches can have, whether positive or negative." For aspiring coaches, she offered valuable advice, “Coaches should get to know their athletes more, be versatile, and patient, thinking about them as humans first." 

Apart from her individual success, she has been active in the community. After the 2012 and 2016 Olympic Trials, she formed Michigan Elite Throws, a club associated with the Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) and USA Track & Field (USATF). The club helps athletes realize their potential, secure scholarships, and, in some instances, send them to Division 1 schools with full-track scholarships.  

At Madonna, Henderson contributes to the success of the track and field program. Her goal is clear, "I want to get good athletes to come here and stay here. My focus is to make sure they become a part of our family and be successful on and off the field.” She stressed the importance of believing in yourself and accepting the support of close friends. Henderson emphasized that “there is always light at the end of the tunnel.” Coach Nia’s light is shining brightly!