Houston's Years of Saying "WTF?" Finally End: Guy V. Lewis Gets into the Hall of Fame
Legendary Houston Cougar basketball coach Guy V. Lewis has been selected for the Basketball Hall of Fame. It is a very well-deserved honor for one of the finest basketball coaches ever involved with the game. It is also an honor that should have been bestowed long, long ago.
Coach Guy V. Lewis gets the ultimate basketball honor.
Fans of the Cougars, fans of Coach Lewis, fans of basketball should be thankful that the voters have granted this honor. But fans should also question why this took such a long time. They should ask why the Hall of Fame so long chose to ignore Coach Lewis? And along with questioning the voters and the Hall, they should be pissed, righteously pissed, that this move took so long to happen.
It's been said in the past that Guy V. Lewis was nothing more than a regional candidate without national name recognition. Less benighted souls have stated that Coach Lewis wasn't worthy of induction because he never won a national title. And others have stated that he wasn't really a good coach, that he just rolled the balls out onto the court and let the players play basketball.
It's true that Lewis and his Cougars never won the NCAA Championship. But he coached his teams to the Final Four five times. That is five more Final Fours than John Chaney ever coached a team to, but Chaney was inducted into the Hall of Fame several years ago. And being a lousy coach didn't prevent Dick Vitale from being inducted several years ago as a contributor.
And don't get his former players started on the insults regarding Lewis's coaching ability.
"I couldn't answer the question of what's the reason [he's not in] because his record speaks for itself," Elvin Hayes told Hair Balls last year. "He's a great coach. He has three players in the Hall of Fame. There's no reason that he should not be in the Hall of Fame because he coached us, he trained us and developed us into the players that we became. He's one of the greatest coaches in the country, going into the Final Four, going undefeated during the regular season, all of the things that all the other coaches in there have done, and some who haven't done. So I don't know. It's hard to explain."
And no person did more to grow the game of college basketball in the national consciousness than Guy V. Lewis. He was the mastermind behind the so-called Game of the Century featuring UCLA and UH in the Houston Astrodome. Lewis convinced the Bruins, then at the top of the college basketball scene, to play the game. It was Lewis who set up the deal to have the game, a mid-season game, televised nationally. Games in domes and midseason games on national television simply weren't done at that time.