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Lewis set for Hall of Fame induction
by Blake D. Long
Apr 26, 2014 | 283 views | 0 0 comments | 66 66 recommendations | email to a friend | print
BOONEVILLE -- Mike Lewis could hardly believe the news that he received about the latest award that pays tribute to his legendary career in Hill Country.

Lewis has been selected to enter the Mississippi Association of Community and Junior Colleges (MACJC) Sports Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 at the Muse Center on the Rankin campus of Hinds Community College.

"It is very humbling to be put in the same category as so many people that have done a great job in this profession," said Lewis. "I'm very honored to even be mentioned in the same breath as those guys. It is something that a person like me could only dream of."

Lewis continued the winning tradition that men's basketball fans of Northeast Mississippi Community College have come to expect each season during his 12-year tenure as headman of the Tigers.

The Alcorn County native took the reigns of the program from Harvey Childers in 1992 and compiled a 206-135 record. He also led Northeast back to the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Tournament.

The 1994-95 edition caught fire with Lewis at the helm and won 16 of its last 20 games. The Tigers qualified for the trip to Hutchinson, Kan., by winning the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.

Five years later, magic struck again for Lewis and Northeast. The Tigers swept through the 1999-2000 campaign as champions of the MACJC North Division, the MACJC State Tournament and the NJCAA Region 23 Tournament.

Northeast's second excursion to the NJCAA National Tournament under the guidance of Lewis saw the Tigers finish in eighth place.

Lewis was named the NJCAA Region 23 Coach of the Year after that season for guiding Northeast to a 30-6 record.

“I had the privilege to work for Mike for many years,” said Northeast executive vice president Ricky Ford. “I was always impressed how coach Lewis was constantly looking for ways to improve and help his team get better. He was someone that models the type of coach that everyone needs.

“He was always concerned about his players mentally, physically and spiritually. His faith and the condition of his players faith was always a huge concern for him before he even thought about playing basketball.”

Lewis won four MACJC North Division Tournament titles, three in a row from 1993-95 and another in 2000, during his time in Booneville. Lewis claimed two MACJC State Tournament championships as well in 1994 and 2000 to go with his NJCAA National Tournament appearances.

"To be a part of that program and in that period of time to be the head basketball coach was really amazing," Lewis said. "So many friendships have developed from the players that we were able to get to come to Northeast both locally and out-of-state.

"The relationship that we have been able to keep over the years has really stuck out to me."

Lewis did not rise to prominence on the hardwood as a player, but rather on the diamond. He was an important member of the 1970 Tiger baseball team that won the Mississippi Junior College Conference North Division title.

Northeast hosted the state championship game against Perkinston Junior College (now Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College) that year, but lost to conclude the campaign with an 8-4-1 record.

His prowess on the ballfield led Lewis to continue his playing career at Delta State University under well renowned coach David "Boo" Ferriss.

The 1972 Statesman squad that featured Lewis finished as runner-up in the Gulf South Conference Tournament and defeated NCAA Division I programs including the University of Southern Mississippi and the University of Mississippi.

Lewis earned a Bachelor's degree from Delta State and a Master's degree from the University of North Alabama.

Before becoming the commander in chief of the Tigers, Lewis directed successful programs at Alcorn Central High School, Biggersville High School and Water Valley High School.

Lewis led Alcorn Central to a 112-55 record during his stop in Glen. The Golden Bears captured one Division 1-3A title, a Mississippi High School Activities Association (MHSAA) Class 3A championship and three Tombigbee Conference crowns in his five-year tenure.

In 1988, Lewis was named the statewide prep Coach of the Year by the Clarion-Ledger. He also garnered the same recognition by the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal and the Daily Corinthian.

Lewis, who was a 2013 inductee into the Northeast Sports Hall of Fame, is currently the head boys basketball coach at Walnut High School. He and his wife Shirley have two daughters, Lesley and Lana.
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