Guy V. Lewis is again on the brink of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Lewis was named one of 12 finalists for the Hall of Fame Friday at an announcement in Houston as part of the NBA All Star Weekend.
Lewis, who was twice named the National Coach of the Year, led the University of Houston for 30 years, winning 592 games and leading the Cougars to five Final Fours. 27 of those 30 seasons were winning ones for Lewis.
Lewis brought the University of Houston to prominence in the 1960’s with teams led by Elvin Hayes and Don Cheney. The Cougars beat UCLA in 1968 in the Astrodome in what was billed as the ‘Game of the Century’ but lost to the Bruins later that year in the Final Four.
His Cougars team gained even more notoriety with the emergence of Phi Slama Jama. With players like Rob Williams, Clyde Drexler, Hakeem Olajuwon and Larry Micheaux the University of Houston reached the Final Four in three consecutive seasons from 1982 to 1984.
The 1982 team lost to Michael Jordan and North Carolina in the semifinals. The 1983 team lost to North Carolina State in the finals, and the 1984 team lost to Patrick Ewing and Georgetown in the final again.
It was the loss to North Carolina State that Lewis’ supporters for the his Hall of Fame candidacy have blamed for his not being inducted yet.
Gary Payton, Mitch Richmond, Maurice Cheeks, Bernard King, Spencer Haywood, Russ Granik, Jerry Tarkanian, Rick Pitino, Tom Heinsohn, Dawn Staley and Sylvia Hatchell are the other finalists.
The Hall of Fame class will be announced on April 8 in Atlanta prior to the NCAA Men’s National Championship game.