May 4, 2010
ATLANTA – Jim Lewis, an assistant coach and director of scouting for the Indiana Fever for the past two seasons, has been named an assistant coach for the Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball program, head coach MaChelle Joseph announced Tuesday.
“I am really fortunate and excited to join Georgia Tech and coach Joseph’s women’s basketball program,” Lewis said. “For me, it is a perfect opportunity to join a very successful program and help it reach its championship goals. It was extremely obvious to me that all the elements of championship success are in place from the administration’s commitment to coach Joseph’s vision for the future of Georgia Tech women’s basketball.”
“We are excited to add someone with Jim Lewis’ experience to our staff,” Joseph said. “He has been a winner at every level. His most recent experience in the WNBA has been tremendous and I am excited for our players to have that kind of exposure every day.
“We are committed to winning championships at Georgia Tech and Jim will be a very valuable asset as we move closer to our goal.”
Lewis, who has over 40 years of coaching experience, helped the Fever win its first-ever Eastern Conference Championship and reach the 2009 WNBA Finals before falling to the eventual champion Phoenix Mercury. Under head coach Lin Dunn, Lewis was member of the 2009 Eastern Conference All-Star coaching staff.
During his time with the Fever, Lewis worked primarily with the post players and was instrumental in the development of All-Star center Tammy Sutton-Brown and Ebony Hoffman, who was named the 2008 WNBA’s Most Improved Player. He also assisted in coaching 2009 perimeter All-Stars Tamika Catchings and Katie Douglas.
Including international competition with USA Basketball, he has enjoyed success at every level of basketball. He was the head women’s coach at Fordham University for six seasons (2001-06) and at George Mason University for 14 (1984-98). He began his career as an assistant coach with men’s programs at Tennessee State, Gannon College, Duke and Tulane. Prior to joining the Fever, he was head girls’ basketball coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., where he led one of the top prep teams in the nation to a 22-1 mark in 2007-08. At T.C. Williams, Lewis helped guard Tierra Ruffin-Pratt earn a spot on the High School All-American First Team.
Prior to guiding the T.C. Williams program in his hometown of Alexandria, Va., Lewis spent a part of the 2006 summer as an assistant with the Minnesota Lynx after retiring from Fordham in March. Counting his six years with the Rams and 14 at George Mason, Lewis notched a 257-295 record in 20 years as a collegiate head coach.
Lewis served as the first head coach of the WNBA Washington Mystics in 1997 and 1998. Prior to his stretch with the Mystics, he compiled a 201-177 record over 14 seasons as the winningest head coach, men’s or women’s, in George Mason history. At George Mason, Lewis led the Patriots to eight winning seasons, including an appearance in the 1997 Preseason WNIT.
During his tenure with the Patriots, he helped USA Basketball to four medals while assisting 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). One of the USA players on the ’97 FIBA Junior World Championships team was Catchings.
He began his coaching career as a graduate assistant men’s basketball coach at Tennessee State (1969-70), which finished as the NCAA Division II runner-up. He then served as an assistant men’s coach at Gannon College (1970-71) and moved on to Duke (1972-76) where he served for five years in the same capacity. He was the assistant men’s coach at Tulane (1977-81) for five years before becoming the head boys’ basketball coach at South Lakes High School (Reston, Va.), where his teams compiled a 59-15 record over three years and advanced each year in postseason play. At South Lakes, Lewis coached point guard Michael Jackson, who was named to the High School All-American first team. Jackson went on to play at Georgetown University where he was a member of the 1984 National Championship team and later played in the NBA.
Before his coaching career, Lewis was a four-year basketball letterwinner at West Virginia University, competing in two NCAA Tournaments and one NIT, and earning his degree in journalism. As an undergrad, Lewis was awarded the William Randolph Hearst award for journalistic achievement. During the 2004-05 season, his 1964-65 freshman class was honored at West Virginia for breaking the color barrier at the university.
After graduating in 1968, he began his graduate work at the University of Detroit and went on to earn his master’s degree in physical education at Tennessee State. Lewis and his wife Karen have two children, Jennifer and Christopher, who reside in northern Virginia. Jennifer, a graduate of Columbia University, is a physical therapist and Christopher, who graduated from Harvard University and was a two-year letterwinner on the men’s basketball team, is a political consultant.