Coach Guy V. Lewis
April 8, 2013
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HOUSTON - Nearly 30 years after his final game, University of Houston Basketball head coach Guy V. Lewis received his sport's highest honor Monday morning when he was named an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lewis joins North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, NBA legend Bernard King, nine-time NBA All-Star guard Gary Payton, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, Virginia star Dawn Staley and former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian in the Class of 2013.
That illustrious group will be joined by five Direct Elects, including Roger Brown from the ABA Committee, Edwin B. Henderson from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee, Oscar Schmidt from the International Committee, Richie Guerin from the Veterans Committee and Russ Granik from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
Lewis and the Enshrinement Class of 2013 were introduced with the other inductees Monday morning at the Marriot Marquis Hotel in Atlanta during NCAA Men's Final Four festivities. Houston great and CBS Sports broadcaster Jim Nantz announced the Class of 2013 live on NBA TV.
Lewis, who is best known as the Father of Phi Slama Jama, will be enshrined with fellow inductees during festivities in Springfield, Mass, on Sept. 8. Tickets to the 2013 Enshrinement and Induction Celebration are available by calling the Hall of Fame at 413-231-5540.
"As we celebrate the 75th anniversary of the NCAA Tournament, it seems only fitting the Basketball Hall of Fame prepares to induct a coach who led his teams to five Final Fours. Coach Lewis was an outstanding leader of young men, a pioneer in racial integration in this region and a visionary who instinctively realized the popularity of college basketball across the country. Without question, the game of college basketball continues to feel his impact today," Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Mack Rhoades said. "I speak for everyone in the Houston Athletics Family when I offer my heartfelt congratulations to Coach Lewis, his wife Dena and their family on this well-deserved and outstanding honor. We celebrate with all of them today and eagerly await the enshrinement ceremonies in September."
"This is an exciting day for Houston Basketball! Everyone in our program celebrates this Hall of Fame honor with Coach Lewis and his family," head coach James Dickey said. "Coach Lewis was a trailblazer in recruiting and assembled tremendous talent. With his teams and the way they played the game, college basketball fans everywhere knew the Houston Cougars and Phi Slama Jama. Coach Lewis' excellence was spread out through the decades with great teams, great players and great moments from the 60s and 70s as well as the 80s. With three of his former stars already enshrined, it is only fitting that their coach take his rightful place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame."
While his coaching career earns the most attention, it is easy to forget that Lewis was a talented student-athlete for the first two Houston teams in school history. He was a co-captain of Houston's first two teams and was a two-time All-Lone Star Conference First-Team selection.
He remains the only person in Houston Athletics history to be inducted into the Hall of Honor as both a student-athlete and as a coach.
Following his playing career, he served as an assistant for his coach Alden Pasche beginning in 1953 before assuming the head coach position in 1956.
During the next 30 years, he assembled a resume that featured a 592-279 record, five NCAA Four appearances, including three straight from 1982 to 1984, six Southwest Conference championships, 14 NCAA Tournament appearances and 17 postseason berths.
He coached some of the greatest names in Houston and college basketball history, including 1968 National Player of the Year Elvin Hayes and All-Americans Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler in the early 1980s as part of the legendary Phi Slama Jama teams.
In 1996, those three players were named part of the NBA's Top 50 Greatest Players list, making Lewis and North Carolina's Dean Smith the only head coaches to work with three players from that illustrious group in college.
Hayes (1990), Drexler (2004) and Olajuwon (2008) capped their careers with enshrinement in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
To this day, Lewis remains one of only seven coaches in NCAA history to compete in nine or more Final Four games with one program (24, John Wooden, UCLA; 19, Mike Krzyzewski, Duke; 19, Dean Smith, North Carolina; 11, Adolph Rupp, Kentucky; 10 Denny Crum, Louisville and 9 Bob Knight, Indiana).
He was recognized as the 1968 National Coach of the Year and received a similar honor from the Associated Press in 1983 when his Phi Slama Jama team posted a 31-3 record and advanced to the first of two NCAA National Championship games.
In 2007, he was honored with induction into the College Basketball Hall of Fame.
However, Lewis' influence continues to be felt off the court to this day. In 1968, he was the architect of the Game of the Century between No. 1 UCLA and No. 2 Houston.
That game drew more than 52,000 fans inside the Houston Astrodome. It was the first regular-season college basketball game to be televised nationally and demonstrated the nationwide (and soon-to-be) worldwide popularity of college basketball on television and in large arenas.
Early in his career, Lewis played a key role in the integration of college basketball in the South. He successfully recruited and welcomed legends Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney to Houston Basketball as the first African-American student-athletes in program history and some of the earliest African-American players in the region.
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Located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame promotes and preserves the game of basketball at every level - professional, collegiate, men and women. For more information on these and other upcoming events, please visit our website at www.hoophall.com or call 1-877-4-HOOPLA.