Monday, April 08, 2013

Guy V. Lewis (Finally!) Elected to Naismith Hall of Fame

One would think that leading a team to the men's college basketball Final Four on five occasions and making pioneering contributions to the sport would earn a coach a spot in the James A. Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. It now has for Houston's Guy V. Lewis, as announced today.

Why it took so long -- 27 years after Lewis had coached his last game and by which time he had turned 91 years old -- is anybody's guess. Fortunately, Lewis is still around to enjoy the experience. According to the above-linked Houston Chronicle article:

Lewis is also credited for being the architect of the "Game of the Century," between No. 1 UCLA, featuring Lew Alcindor, and No. 2 UH at the Astrodome in 1968. UH won 71-69, snapping UCLA's 47-game winning streak, in the first regular-season college basketball game televised nationally.

Lewis was among the first college basketball coaches to embrace racial integration in the South during the 1960s, signing Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney as the first African-American players in program history.

Lewis was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame, part of Kansas City's College Basketball Experience, in 2007. However, the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, is older, more comprehensive (encompassing pro, college, and international play), and considered more prestigious than the College Hall of Fame (even though the latter clearly exhibited superior judgment in Lewis's case than the former).