Oct. 24, 2013
WASHINGTON - Georgetown University Director of Athletics Lee Reed named Jim Lewis as the interim head coach of the women's basketball program on Thursday. Lewis becomes just the eighth women's basketball head coach in the history of the program.
"I'm very happy to have Jim Lewis leading our women's basketball program this season," Reed said. "He has a tremendous background in coaching and leadership in a career that has made him very well respected, not only in the Washington, D.C., area, but nationally as well. "
Lewis comes to the Hilltop with more than 40 years of experience at every level of the game including stops with Team USA, as well as in the WNBA, NCAA and high school.
"I'd like to first thank President DeGioia and Athletic Director Lee Reed for this tremendous opportunity that's been afforded to me," said Lewis. "Secondly, I'd like to thank my family for continuing to support me throughout my long basketball coaching career. It's truly an honor to have a chance to represent one of the great universities in the world."
Most recently, the Virginia native was an assistant coach and scout for the Los Angeles Sparks of the WNBA.
Lewis began his career as a men's basketball coach, serving as an assistant at Tennessee State University from 1969-70. He was also on staff at Gannon College (1970-71), Duke University (1971-76) and Tulane University (1976-81). After a brief stint coaching at South Lakes High School where he coached All-Met Player of the Year and Georgetown alum Michael Jackson, Lewis switched over to the emerging women's game, being named the head coach at George Mason University in 1984.
He led the Patriots for 14 seasons and was the winningest coach in both men's and women's basketball program history when he left, having compiled an overall record of 201-177 at George Mason. He coached the Green and Gold to eight winning seasons, including an appearance in the 1997 Preseason WNIT and led Mason through its inaugural season in the Colonial Athletic Association in 1985. During his time with the Patriots, Lewis also helped USA Basketball to four medals as an assistant on coaching staffs at the 1994 Jones Cup (gold), 1995 World University Games (silver), 1997 Junior World Championships (gold) and 1997 USA International Invitational (gold).
Lewis left the Patriots to become the first head coach of the Washington Mystics of the WNBA, a role he served in for one season.
In 2000, he returned to the collegiate ranks as the head women's coach at Fordham University for six seasons where he led two players to Atlantic 10 Most Improved Player Awards in 2003 and 2004 and four players to All-Conference recognition. Including his time at Fordham and George Mason, Lewis has recorded a 257-295 record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach.
His WNBA career continued in 2006 as he served as an assistant coach for the Minnesota Lynx for one year and with the Indiana Fever for three seasons as the director of scouting. Lewis helped the Fever win its first ever Eastern Conference Championship and reach the 2009 WNBA Finals before falling to the eventual champion Phoenix Mercury.
After a brief stint as the head coach at T.C. Williams High School in his hometown of Alexandria, Va., where he went 22-1 and coached current-Washington Mystic Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, Lewis joined the staff at Georgia Tech University in 2010-11. He followed that by returning to George Mason, the place he began his career coaching women's basketball, for one year.
Before his coaching career, Lewis was a four-year letterwinner at West Virginia University, competing in two NCAA Tournaments and one NIT, while earning his bachelor of science degree in journalism. A standout student-athlete, Lewis was awarded the William Randolph Hearst award for journalistic achievement as an undergrad. His 1964-65 freshman class was honored at West Virginia for breaking the color barrier at the University and he was the first African-American scholarship basketball player.
After graduating in 1968, he began his graduate work at University of Detroit and went on to earn his master's degree in physical education at Tennessee State.
Lewis and his wife of 39 years, Karen, have two children, Jennifer and Christopher, who both live in Alexandria, Va. Jennifer received her undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia and went on to earn a master's degree from Columbia University. She is a physical therapist. Christopher was a two-year letterwinner at Harvard University. He is the vice president of a non-profit organization and was recently elected to the Alexandria School Board.
"Having grown up here in the Washington, D.C., area and Northern Virginia, I know the essence of Georgetown and what it represents so it will be a thrill to come to work every day and to help these young women reach their maximum potential in the classroom as well as on the court."
The women's basketball squad has been practicing since late September.
Lewis will take the helm immediately and will be introduced at the Basketball Tip-Off Party on Friday evening at McDonough Arena.
Georgetown opens the season at home on Friday, Nov. 8 hosting the Richmond Spiders.