I saw this item posted over at Coogfans the other day. I don't know whether it's the real deal or not, but supposedly there was somebody on eBay selling what he claimed to be the floor from the Game of the Century. For those to young to remember, the Game of the Century pitted the UCLA Bruins against the Houston Cougars inside the Astrodome on January 20, 1968. This was first college basketball game to be played inside a dome, and it was also the first nationally televised college basketball game.
But whether or not the floor is real doesn't concern me. And Cougar fans, I'm not writing for you, because I'm sure that you'll agree with what I'm going to write. Instead, I'm writing this for the rest of you. I'm writing those of you who don't know about the mastermind behind the Game of the Century, and I'm writing in an attempt to, once again, figure out some reason why Guy V. Lewis isn't in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Here are a few quick facts about Guy V. Lewis: He coached the Houston Cougars to 27 straight winning seasons, and 14 NCAA tournament appearances. His teams reached the Final Four five times. He won 31-plus games in a season three times. He won 592 games as coach of the Coogs, including two regular season Southwest Conference titles and four Southwest Conference tournament championships. He was twice the National Coach of the Year. And he was the team captain for the first two Houston Cougar basketball teams.
But that's not all.
He was the first coach to integrate a major Southern college basketball team. He was the coach of some of the greatest players in basketball history, including Elvin Hayes, Clyde Drexler, and Hakeem Olajuwon. The 1983 Final Four game between the Cougars and the Louisville Cardinals is still thought by some fans to be one of the greatest games in NCAA basketball history.
And it was Guy V. Lewis who dreamed up the Game of the Century. We now take for granted the playing of basketball in large stadiums before 50,000-plus people on national television. But this had never before done, and it was Lewis who dreamed it up and made it happen.
No one, no one, has done more to make college basketball what it is today. Yet he's not in the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Van Chancellor's in that Hall of Fame, and he's best known as a coach of a now non-existent women's professional basketball team. Dick Vitale, a mediocre coach who has made watching basketball on ESPN unbearable, is in. Lewis won more games, went to more NCAA tournaments, and advanced to more Final Fours than Lou Carnesecca and John Chaney. Yet somehow, they're both in the Hall of Fame.
He wasn't a big mouth who beat up on his players, like Bobby Knight. He integrated the game before Don Haskins. They're in the Hall, but not Lewis. Perhaps he should have acted like a child, or had a movie made of his life.
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I don't get upset that the Cougars aren't playing sports in a major conference. But I'm upset now, and I'm always upset that Coach Lewis isn't in the Basketball Hall of Fame. It just doesn't make sense. And I don't like things that don't make sense. Dick Vitale is nothing but an oft-fired basketball coach if Lewis doesn't make the Game of the Century.
Pat Riley's in the Hall of Fame as a coach. Does anybody out there really think that Riley was more influential to the game of basketball than Guy V. Lewis? How did Roy Williams get in, and not Guy V. Lewis? Or Jerry Sloan? About all that Sloan has done is turn players into thugs. And he sure hasn't won any titles. Hell, Joe Dumars and Charles Barkley are in this Hall of Fame. But not Guy V. Lewis.
So I don't know if that court sold on eBay was really the court from the Game of the Century. But hopefully it'll make people think of Coach Lewis. One of the true legends of the game of the basketball. The people who vote for the Basketball Hall of Fame might not appreciate Coach Lewis, but I sure do. So thank you for everything, coach.