Columbia Athletics: Lions hoops great and Rhodes Scholar Heyward Dotson dies at 71

Heyward Dotson speaking to Columbia Athletics in 2018, when he was inducted into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame. (Columbia Athletics)

Columbia men’s basketball great and Rhodes Scholar Heyward Dotson died Friday at 71, Columbia Athletics announced Sunday.

The Columbia Athletics Hall of Famer was a standout on the Lions’ 1968 Ivy League championship team, still the last squad to win an Ivy title for the program.

Columbia Athletics did not announce a cause of death.

In 76 games over three seasons with the program, Dotson, a 1970 Columbia College graduate, was a three-time All-Ivy selection contributed 16.7 points, 5.5 rebounds and 3.7 assists per game, including a team-high 22.3 points per game on 78.6% shooting from the floor during Columbia’s three-game run in the 1968 NCAA Tournament. Dotson scored 32 points in Columbia’s first-round win over La Salle.

“Heyward was one of the smartest, toughest individuals I have ever had the privilege of knowing,” Dotson’s teammate and chair emeritus of Columbia’s Board of Trustees Jonathan Schiller said, per Columbia Athletics. “He was eloquent, proud and gracious for the opportunities he had earned and what he was able to accomplish as the result. We were fortunate to be with him in life.”

After graduation, Dotson was selected in 1970 by the Phoenix Suns in the NBA Draft and the Indiana Pacers in the ABA Draft and attended Oxford University for two years. Dotson played two years in the ABA and EBA between 1972 and 1974. Dotson became a lawyer after graduating from Columbia Law School in 1976.

Dotson was inducted into the Columbia Athletics Hall of Fame in 2018 and spoke to Columbia Athletics then about the strength of the 1968 Ivy champions:





2 thoughts on “Columbia Athletics: Lions hoops great and Rhodes Scholar Heyward Dotson dies at 71”

  1. Dotson was a standout on a team that featured Jim McMillian and Dave Newmark. I still remember the pasting the Lions administered to the Tigers in a playoff at St. John’s for the Ivy title. Great player, great man.

  2. Somehow, I was thinking about Heyward Dotson today, May 10. We shared some classes
    at Stuyvesant High School in Sophomore year. We may have shared a home room, at the
    start of the school day. We were acquaintances, but not close friends, which was the norm
    in a large high school. I was aware he was perhaps the leading player on the Stuyvesant basketball team. I did follow him a bit after that when he was at Columbia.
    It is with a sad heart that today I found out he has just passed. My best wishes are with his
    loved ones.
    John Reith, Stuyvesant H.S. ‘1966

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