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_0237web.jpg Hrdlicka, Teter pour ‘heart’ into Zebra soccer program

    For the past four years, Claremore High School seniors Katelin Teter and Nick Hrdlicka have represented the ‘heart and soul’ of the Lady Zebra and Zebra soccer programs.
    The soccer duo will join seven other seniors on Friday night for Homecoming against Collinsville at Lantow Field.

    April 16, 2014 2 Photos

  • DSC_0014web.jpg 9 straight for Lady Zebras

    Claremore sophomore forward Bailey Steckline got the ‘hat-trick’ plus one Tuesday night in the Lady Zebras’ 10-0 win over Tulsa Memorial at  LaFortune Stadium.
    Steckline tallied two goals in the first half, and added two more in the second to complete her impressive night.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0156web.jpg Tulsa Memorial holds off Zebras, 2-1

    Tulsa Memorial scored a pair of first-half goals  to steal the momentum away from the Claremore Zebras, as well as the 2-1 win Tuesday night in Metro Lakes Conference action at LaFortune Stadium.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • DSC_0015web.jpg BASEBALL: Whatley, Howe power Zebras past Tahlequah

    Claremore’s Matt Whatley has proven over the past four years that he’s one of the toughest outs in the Metro Lakes Conference.
    On Tuesday, Whatley went 3-for-4 with two singles and a triple while sparking the Zebras to a 12-2 win over Tahlequah in five innings at American Legion Park.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • BASEBALL: Dewey takes pair from Sequoyah

    It’s very difficult to win when you can’t score.
    Class 4A third-ranked Dewey blanked homestanding Sequoyah 7-0 and 2-0 in a district doubleheader on Tuesday, improving to 21-3 with a dominating two-hit pitching performance in the opener and a four-hitter in the nightcap.

    April 18, 2014

  • SOCCER: Sequoyah topples No. 15 Catoosa, 1-0

    Sequoyah boys soccer coach Bob Campbell had one phrase to sum up his feelings following the Eagles’ game with 15th ranked Catoosa at home Tuesday night.
    “We’re in the driver’s seat.’’
    Alex Bourgeois scored late in the first half and Sequoyah made it stand up for a 1-0 victory over the Indians in a showdown for the district lead.

    April 18, 2014

  • Jackson sprints Zebras to 1st place at OBU Relays

    Claremore senior sprinter Tyler Jackson felt the need for speed Wednesday afternoon at the Oklahoma Baptist University High School Invitational.
    Jackson notched a pair of first-place victories in the 200-meter dash and the 400-meter dash to help Claremore earn 130 points for top honors.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Arkansas Tech roughs up ‘Cats

    The Rogers State University baseball team had a disappointing finish in its home finale as No. 12-ranked Arkansas Tech blanked the Hillcats 11-0 Tuesday evening in non-conference action from the Diamond Sports Complex.

    April 18, 2014

  • BASEBALL: Southwest Baptist slips past NSU, 5-3

     The Northeastern State baseball team lost 5-3 to Southwest Baptist Thursday afternoon at Dobson Field.
     
    The RiverHawks (19-22, 15-18 MIAA) held a 3-0 lead early in the contest, but a late rally from the Bearcats (23-18, 19-13 MIAA) and costly errors from the visitors allowed the home team to secure the series-opening triumph.

    April 18, 2014

  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: Conference champion NSU lands top seed in MIAA tourney

    The No. 31-ranked Northeastern State women's tennis team has drawn the top seed in the 2014 MIAA Women's Tennis Championship, the league announced Thursday morning.

    April 18, 2014