- Guy Lewis
College coach infobox
Name = Guy Vernon Lewis II
| ImageWidth =
Title = Head Coach
Missouri Valley Conference Southwest Conference
DateOfBirth = birth date and age|1922|3|19
Birthplace = flagicon|United States
OverallRecord = 592-279 (.680)
Awards = National Coach of the Year in 1968, 1983
Player = *
Years = 1946-1947
Team = Houston
Coach = *
CoachYears = 1953-1955
CoachTeams = Houston (asst.)
Guy Vernon Lewis II (born in
Arp, Texas, United States of America, March 19, 1922) is a former NCAA basketballcoach who led the University of HoustonCougars program for 30 years from 1956-86. A progressive influence both in the development of college basketball and the integration of collegiate athletics, Lewis's overall impact on the sport is perhaps inestimable.
University of Houston
After serving in
World War II, Lewis played basketball for the University of Houston until his graduation in 1947. He became an assistant coach there in 1953, and head coach in 1956. As a coach, he was known for championing the once-outlawed dunk, which he characterized as a "high percentage shot", and for clutching a brightly-colored red and white polka dot towel on the bench during games. Lewis was a major force in the racial integration of college athletics in the South during the 1960s, being one of the first major college coaches in the region to actively recruit African-American athletes. His recruitment of Elvin Hayesand Don Chaneyin 1964 ushered in an era of tremendous success in Cougar basketball. The dominant play of Hayes led the Cougars to two Final Fours and sent shock waves through Southern colleges that realized that they would have to begin recruiting black players if they wanted to compete with integrated teams.
Guy Lewis led the University of Houston Cougars division I basketball program to 27 straight winning seasons and 14 seasons with 20 or more wins, including 14 trips to the NCAA Tournament. His Houston teams made the Final Four on five occasions (1967, 1968, 1982-84) and twice advanced to the NCAA Championship Game (1983, 1984). Among the outstanding players who Lewis coached are
Elvin Hayes, Hakeem Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler, Otis Birdsong, Dwight Jones, Don Chaneyand "Sweet" Lou Dunbar. Despite his exemplary record of achievement, Lewis has yet to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lewis's UH teams twice played key roles in high-profile events that helped to popularize college basketball as a spectator sport. In 1968, his underdog, Elvin Hayes-led Cougars upset the undefeated and top-ranked UCLA Bruins in front of more than 50,000 fans at Houston’s
Astrodome. Most importantly, it was the first nationally-televised college basketball game. The game became known as the “Game of the Century” and marked a watershed in the popularity of college basketball. In the early 1980s, Lewis's Phi Slama Jamateams at UH gained notoriety for their fast-breaking, "above the rim" style of play as well as their overall success. These teams attracted great public interest with their entertaining style of play. At the height of Phi Slama Jama's notoriety, they suffered a dramatic, last-second loss in the 1983 NCAA Final that set a then-ratings record for college basketball broadcasts and became an iconic moment in the history of the sport. Lewis's insistence that these highly successful teams play an acrobatic, up-tempo brand of basketball that emphasized dunking brought this style of play to the fore and helped popularize it amongst younger players.
Houston lost in both NCAA Final games in which Lewis coached, despite his "
Phi Slama Jama" teams featuring superstars Clyde Drexlerand Hakeem Olajuwon. In 1983, Houston lost in a dramatic title game to North Carolina Stateon a last-second dunk by Lorenzo Charles. The Cougars lost in the 1984 NCAA Final to the Georgetown Hoyas, led by Patrick Ewing. Lewis retired from coaching in 1986 at number 20 in all-time NCAA Division I victories, his 592-279 record giving him a .680 career winning percentage.
Lewis was hospitalized for a stroke on February 27, 2002. [COLLEGES: MEN'S BASKETBALL ROUNDUP. New York Times. February 27, 2002. "GUY LEWIS HOSPITALIZED: Guy Lewis, the former University of Houston coach who took his team to 14 N.C.A.A. tournaments and 5 trips to the Final Four, was hospitalized yesterday for treatment of an apparent stroke. Lewis, who will turn 80 next month, was taken to Houston's Methodist Hospital about 2 a.m. The university said in a statement that Lewis was under observation but was alert and speaking and would be undergoing tests to determine the severity of what doctors believed was a stroke." ] He later recovered, but experienced some lasting effects from the episode. [JOHN MARSHALL: [http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5gNfGrppcPgml6VUCkijmwL4mGGvQD8T0FPDO0 Abdul-Jabbar Honored by College Hall] Associated Press. November 18, 2007. Notes: "(Guy) Lewis, who was too ill to attend the ceremonies, led Houston to five Final Four appearances and 27 consecutive winning seasons, including the 1983 "Phi Slamma Jamma" team that came within seconds of a national title." (Lewis had suffered a stroke and gave a videotaped acceptance speech.)]
* 30 years as a head coach
* 592 career wins
* Five NCAA
* Two NCAA Final appearances
* Three 30-plus-win seasons
* 4 conference championships
* Produced 10 first round
NBA draftselections, and 29 NBAplayers in total
* Only coach to have produced 3 of the NBA's top 50 players
* Winning Coach of the Game of the Century vs. UCLA in the Astrodome
* Named National Coach of the Year in 1968, and again in 1983
* Coach of four
Southwest ConferenceTournament champions--1978, 1981, 1983 and 1984
College Basketball Hall of Famein 2007
* [http://www.hickoksports.com/biograph/lewisguy.shtml Biography of Guy Lewis]
* [http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/ncaa/lewis.html Sportingnews story]
* [http://uhcougars.cstv.com/trads/hou-trads-bbcougar.html#guyv University of Houston Athletics History]
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