Sep 3, 2013
HOUSTON - Nearly 30 years after his final game, former University of Houston men's basketball head coach Guy V. Lewis will receive his sport's highest honor when he is inducted in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend.
The 2013 Enshrinement Ceremony will be shown live on NBA TV from 1 to 4 p.m. (CDT), Sunday. Fans can check their local listings for NBA TV providers by clicking here.
Lewis, who is best known as the Father of Phi Slama Jama, 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 will be presented by two of his former players, who are both in the Hall of Fame - Elvin Hayes and Hakeem Olajuwon. Lewis family members and Hall of Fame officials are hopeful that fellow Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler will be able to participate in the ceremony as well.
Lewis will be joined by his daughter, Sherry, and sons, Vern and Terry, on the trip to Springfield, Mass.
Houston Athletics officials are finalizing plans to recognize Coach Lewis at Football and Men's Basketball games later this season. Fans should stay tuned to UHCougars.com and Houston Athletics' social media sites for the latest information on these exciting events.
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 Final 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 Hayes, who was the 1968 National Player of the Year, and All-Americans Olajuwon and 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 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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