Sunday, April 07, 2013

What Took Y'all So Long? UH Coach Guy V. Lewis Elected To Basketball Hall of Fame

On the 30th anniversary of a certain NCAA title game that makes me sick to my stomach to watch, the news that the voters pulled their heads out of their kiesters and finally elected legendary UH coach Guy V. Lewis to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was welcome news for every Cougar fan and alum to hear on this day. 

It's past damned time it happened. 

During his 30 year career he led the UH men's b-ball squad to 592 wins and 27 consecutive winning seasons.   The Cougars went to 14 NCAA tournaments and advanced to the Final Four five times (1967, 1968, 1982, 1983, 1984) and played in back to back NCAA championship games in 1983 and 1984.

Guy V. Lewis (along with Don Haskins at UTEP) were responsible for integrating collegiate basketball in the South when he signed Elvin Hayes and Don Chaney as the first of many African-American players in UH history.

Lewis was the architect of the "Game of the Century" between Number 1 ranked UCLA and Number 2 UH at the Astrodome in 1968. The game was played in front of 52,693 fans and was the first-ever nationally televised college basketball game.  UH won it 71-69 to snap the Bruins' 47-game winning streak. 

And oh yeah, there was Phi Slama Jama.  I was at UH at the time and got to spend more than a few nights at Hofheinz Pavilion watching that high-flying fast breaking slam dunking basketball juggernaut and the game that epitomized that era was the 1983 NCAA semifinal between UH and Louisville.      

Three of Lewis' players, Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler and Hakeem Olajuwon would go on to be selected among the 50 greatest players in NBA history.   Hayes (1990), Drexler (2004) and Olajuwon (2008) would go on to be elected to the Hall of Fame themselves.

Guy Lewis is responsible for the games you see every week, them being played in domed stadiums, integrating basketball in the South and coaching three Hall of Fame players over his career.   That alone should have gotten him elected to the Hall a long time ago.  He was a great coach on top of it even though he never won an NCAA title and one was cruelly snatched away from him by fate. .  

The official announcement will be made tomorrow before the NCAA title game and the induction ceremony will happen in Springfield, MA on September 8.

Now where's my Phi Slama Jama button?    Congrats Guy V. 

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