“He was a great coach and an even better person, and his loss is tremendous, not just for the student-athletes he coached, but for the world of track & field as a whole.”
Lewis served as head coach of the men’s track & field program for four seasons, taking over prior to the 2008-09 campaign. During his tenure, Lewis coached 13 individual MEAC champions and 63 student-athletes who earned All-MEAC honors.
In addition, he coached sprinter Reggie Dixon, who was an All-American in the 60-meter dash in 2011.
Dixon qualified for the NCAA Championships on six separate occasions. In 2009, he qualified for the indoor 200-meter dash, as well as the outdoor 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash. In 2012, Dixon finished fourth in the 60-meter dash at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
Later that year, he qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships in both the 100- and 200-meter dash. The Pirates also reached NCAA qualification in the outdoor 4×400-meter relay that season.
In cross country, David Kimani was an All-MEAC honoree in 2009 and 2010.
Lewis coached the Pirates to second-place finishes in the 2010 and 2011 MEAC Indoor Championships, as well as the 2009 MEAC Outdoor Championships. In his final season, 2012, the Pirates finished third in the MEAC Outdoor Championships.
Prior to his tenure at Hampton, Lewis spent three seasons as an assistant coach at Delaware State.
Prior to his work at Delaware State, Lewis spent 2002-05 as an assistant coach with the women’s team at Eastern Michigan. While at Eastern Michigan, Lewis coached sprints, hurdles, jumps and combined events, while also recruiting and advising student-athletes. He coached four All-Americans, one NCAA regional champion, and saw Eastern Michigan finish 16th in the 2005 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
Lewis arrived at the University of Pittsburgh in 1982, where he spent 20 years as head coach for both the men’s and women’s teams. His Panther squads won five Big East conference titles, and in 1998 Pitt’s women’s track & field team finished third in the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships. Throughout his career at Pitt, Lewis coached 11 individual NCAA champions and 67 All-Americans. Forty men and 95 women won Big East individual championships under Lewis’ direction.
Before moving to Pitt, Lewis coached track & field at Menchville High School in Newport News, Va. Lewis coached 34 All-Americans at Menchville while winning 12 indoor and outdoor state championships. Four athletes set national records during Lewis’ tenure at Menchville.
His 11 years at Menchville – 1970-1981 – came after three years coaching track in Mathews County. Lewis coached at Mathews County High School from 1968-69 after coaching at Thomas Hunter High School for two years prior.
Lewis also coached basketball, baseball and football at both Thomas Hunter and Mathews County.
He has since been inducted into the Newport News Track Hall of Fame.
In his high school career, Lewis has coached 11 district champions in track & field, as well as 11 state champions. His dual meet record is 132-18, and Lewis also boasts 10 regional championships on his track & field resume. Lewis also coached four district and two regional champions in cross country.
Lewis graduated from Virginia State College – now Norfolk State University – in 1964, receiving a B.S. in physical education. He was a native of Brooklyn, N.Y. and graduated from Wingate High School.
“He was a great man who touched a lot of souls,” Pierce said. “I learned a lot from him and he will be truly missed.”