Sunday, February 17, 2013

Guy V. Lewis

Friday night in Houston the 12 finalists for the basketball Hall of Fame were announced and one of my favorite people in the world was chosen. Hopefully, after all these years of being snubbed, the University of Houston's Coach Guy Lewis will be elected in the balloting which will be announced during the Final Four weekend.. The fact that he's not yet been enshrined is borderline criminal.

Consider that the fact that  Lou Carnesecca, John Chaney, Pete Carrill, Ralph Miller, Stanley Watts, and Marv Harshman are all in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and have combined to reach 1 Final Four in their collective coaching careers. Guy V., who reached 5 Final Fours and 2 National Title game, is not.

Also consider: Guy Lewis...
....had more career wins than 67 percent of the college coaches already in the Hall of Fame.
....took more teams to the NCAA Tournament than 91 percent of the college coaches already in the Hall of Fame.
....won more NCAA Tournament games than 89 percent of the college coaches already in the Hall of Fame.
....took more teams to the Final Four than 92 percent of the coaches already in the Hall of Fame.
.... had 27 consecutive seasons without a losing record during his UH career. Only Adolph Rupp of Kentucky and John Wooden of UCLA ever posted as many consecutive seasons without a losing record.
....took 14 of his teams to the NCAA Tournament, a mark exceeded by only 11 other coaches in the history of college basketball and only six of those 11 had more NCAA Tournament wins than Lewis.

Those numbers are a few years old and may have changed some but you get the idea.

There is a lot of speculation about why Guy has not reached the Hall. Some said all he did was 'roll out the ball' at practice and let the kids do their thing. Those who say that never witnessed a UH practice as I did back in the day. They never saw a raw Nigerian freshman named Akeem Olajuwon stumble around the court and then blossom under Guy Lewis. The famed 'Dream Shake'? Came from Guy's hard work.

Guy and his polka dot towel.

Some say the loss to NC State in the Finals cost him. One game? OK, if you want to talk one game how about the 'Game of the Century' held in the Astrodome in January, 1968. the game changed college basketball forever. Some say it put the sport on the map. It was the product of the mind of Guy Lewis. The pic at the top is a replica cover from the G-o-t-C program that I had Guy and Elvin sign a few years back. In typical fashion he insisted on signing one for my sons who were dressed in Cougar red.

With The Big 'E' and Don Chaney.

And only the legendary Dean Smith also had three players chosen for the 50 Greatest Players of All Time list. Lewis coached Olajuwon, Clyde Drexler and Elvin Hayes. I was lucky enough to see all three in person and I attended the Game of the Century as a high school sophomore. I decided that night that the UH was where I wanted to go to college. And that's where I met my wife. So you could say the Guy Lewis vision put me where I am, with a great family and comfortable life.

I don't follow the NBA. Haven't seen a TV game in about 20 years. But I'll try to find when the halftime show is on tonight, just to watch when the 12 are to be presented (or so I understand). Guy is in pretty fragile health these days. It would be a great tonic for him to hear his name. He's gotten this far and is now just one step away.

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