Claremore Daily Progress

Sports

April 10, 2013

NCAA BB: Guy Lewis thrilled by Hall of Fame election

ATLANTA — Ninety-one-year-old Guy Lewis has difficulty speaking because of recent strokes.

But the huge grin on the face of the former Houston coach Tuesday conveyed his elation at finally being inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame a day before.

Lewis coached the Cougars for 30 years, but is best known for leading the Phi Slama Jama teams in the 1980s.

"It's pure joy and we're not even upset that it took so long ... dad is used to winning in overtime,'' his daughter Sherry Lewis said.

The event was attended by former player Elvin Hayes, a fellow Hall of Famer. Hayes had campaigned for Lewis's election and boycotted all events related to the Hall since his induction in 1990 because Lewis hadn't received the honor.

"That was a great wrong done and all of the sudden, it's right,'' Hayes said. "And once it's right, it doesn't even make any difference what happened in the past.''

Lewis sat in a wheelchair by his daughter while she answered questions on his behalf. Wearing a red cable knit sweater and a red-and-white Houston hat, Lewis smiled and laughed often during the event where he was presented with red roses and sat near the several trophies he earned while coaching the Cougars.

"I'm just glad he gets to be back in Hofheinz,'' Sherry said of the pavilion where the Cougars play. "He's just so at peace now and happy.''

Lewis finished his career at Houston with a 592-279 record. His teams made five Final Four appearances, including three in a row from 1982-84. He reached the NCAA tournament 14 times and captured six Southwest Conference titles. He helped the Cougars to 27 straight winning seasons from 1959-85 and was named national coach of the year in 1968 and 1983.

Along with Hayes, he also coached fellow All-Americans Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler. The three players were named to the NBA's Top 50 greatest players list in 1996. He and North Carolina's Dean Smith are the only men to coach three players from that list while they were in college.

"We can give him credit for his great accomplishments, 592 wins and all that, but he's won more players over and made them believe and made them successful men than he has victories,'' said Lynden Rose, who was a part of the great teams in the 1980s.

Lewis is also known for putting together the "Game of the Century'' at the Astrodome in 1968 between Houston and UCLA. It was the first regular-season game to be broadcast on national television. Houston defeated the Bruins in front of a crowd of more than 52,000 which, at that time, was the largest ever to watch an indoor basketball game.

He also helped with the integration of college basketball in the South by recruiting Hayes and Don Chaney to Houston. They were the first black players for the Cougars and some of the first in the region.

He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.

"Basketball in the state of Texas and throughout the South is all due to coach Guy V. Lewis,'' Hayes said. "He put everything on the line to step out and integrate his program. Not only that, he had vision to say: `Hey, we can play a game in the Houston Astrodome.' Not only that, he just was such a motivator and such an innovator that created so many doors for the game of basketball to grow.''

If Lewis was upset about being snubbed by the Hall for so many years, he never showed it. While his friends, relatives and former players railed against his exclusion, he had said in the past that it never bothered him.

His supporters were happy he was still around to celebrate the moment.

"When you're 91, good news is always great news,'' Rose said. "We were happy because the sentiment became, would it happen while he was alive?''

Lewis understands everything going on around him, but suffers from aphasia due to his strokes, which makes it hard for him to convey his thoughts into words.

"He knows what he wants to say, I just kind of have to guess,'' Sherry said. "He's still Guy Lewis in there.''

He will be enshrined into the Hall on Sept. 8 in Springfield, Mass. Sherry said that they haven't yet decided if he'll be able to make the trip or who will deliver his speech there.

 

1
Text Only
Sports
  • DSC_0344web.jpg ‘Lucky 7’ comes through in the 3rd

    Over the course of his four-year baseball career at Verdigris High School, third baseman Ryan Skalnik has had his share of memorable at-bats.
    None more important than Tuesday’s appearance in the Large School East-West All-State Game at J.L. Johnson Stadium in Tulsa.
    Skalnik, who was the lone senior this season for Verdigris and a four-time Class 3A state champion, thrived under pressure in the top of the third inning for the East.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Larue, Skalnik power East to 3-0 victory

    The East blanked the West 3-0 in the Large School All-State Baseball Game Tuesday night at J. L. Johnson Stadium on the campus of Oral Roberts University.
    Claremore catcher Matt Whatley and third baseman Ryan Skalnik of Verdigris represented Rogers County in the contest.
    Skalnik finished 1-for-3 with a pair of RBI's.  Whatley was 0-for-1 with a walk.

    July 30, 2014

  • FISHFRYweb.jpg Claremore QB Club holds Fish Fry Aug. 2

    The Claremore Zebra Quarterback Club will hold its annual Fish Fry fundraiser on Aug. 2 at the Claremore High School cafeteria.

    July 19, 2014 1 Photo

  • Iowa offers free tuition to boost football sales

    The University of Iowa is offering a year's worth of free tuition to five randomly selected students who've purchased season tickets for the 2014 football season.

    July 30, 2014

  • FOOTBALL: Auburn, Clemson agree to play in 2016, 2017

    Auburn and Clemson have agreed to play a home-and-home series in 2016 and 2017.

    The schools announced the deal on Wednesday.

    July 30, 2014

  • QB questions abound in SEC

    Quarterback battles and signal-caller questions abound in the Southeastern Conference going into preseason camps around the league.

    Big names, not so much.

    Division favorites Alabama and South Carolina will be banking on new starters. Ditto for Texas A&M, Georgia and defending East Division champion Missouri.

    July 30, 2014

  • MLB: Indians trade starting pitcher Justin Masterson to Cardinals

    Justin Masterson began the season as the Indians' ace. He'll end it with a different team in a different league.

    Cleveland traded the disappointing Masterson on Wednesday to the St. Louis Cardinals, a deal that will allow the Indians to get something in return for the 29-year-old righty who was in his final year under contract.

    July 30, 2014

  • Cop once drew gun on squirrel-hunting QB Winston

    Heisman Trophy winner Jameis Winston and Florida State teammate Chris Casher were held at gunpoint by campus police nearly two years ago while hunting squirrels with a pellet gun, police say.

    July 30, 2014

  • NFL: Cowboys sign OL Tyron Smith to 8-year deal

    Tyron Smith has a new contract that will probably make him the most important blocker for the next Dallas quarterback after Tony Romo.

    The Pro Bowl left tackle signed an eight-year, $98 million extension Wednesday that pushes the total value of his deal to $110 million over 10 years, locking him up through 2023.

    July 30, 2014

  • NCAA proposed settlement raises medical questions

    A key feature of a proposed settlement of a head-injury lawsuit against the NCAA is the creation of a $70 million fund to pay for medical evaluations of current and former college players in several sports. The provision raises some sticky medical questions.

    July 30, 2014