University of Houston coaching legend Guy Lewis dies at 93

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Thursday, November 26, 2015
Guy V. Lewis
Former University of Houston basketball coach Guy V. Lewis.
AP Photo

HOUSTON -- University of Houston coaching legend Guy Lewis has died. He was 93.

Lewis' reign over UH basketball lasted three decades, from 1956 to 1986. He produced nearly 600 wins and 27 consecutive winning seasons, including five NCAA Final Four appearances.

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Guy Lewis, a member of the 2013 class of inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame, smiles during a news conference at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. (AP Photo/ Jessica Hill)
AP Photo/ Jessica Hill

Lewis is most widely known for producing the Phi Slama Jama team, which developed Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, with a game played above the rim.

"He always said the dunk is a much safer and accurate shot than a jump shot, so he told his players, 'Anytime you can dunk, do so.' And Phi Slama Jama was born," the coach's son, Vern Lewis said.

Perhaps his most important contribution to the game is his recruiting of African American athletes well before the Civil Rights era.

"He saw that the great players, many were African Americans. And he said, 'In order for Houston to compete, I'll have to get some African American players,'" Vern Lewis said.

Lewis was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2013. Two of his former players -- Elvin Hayes and Hakeen Olajuwon -- presented the honor.

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