Completing their second head-coaching search in the past month, Lawrence High officials confirmed Thursday that they will recommend Mike Lewis to become the school’s new boys basketball coach.
Lewis, whose connections to LHS run deep, was an assistant coach to former Lions coach Chris Davis the past three seasons.
The new head Lion was informed of the school’s decision Wednesday. LHS interviewed two others for the position, but ultimately chose Lewis because “he was a good fit,” LHS principal Matt Brungardt said.
“You don’t imagine that you’ll have to hire two new coaches between the time they name you interim principal and the time you start working for the next school year,” Brungardt said. “But, like I said before, all you can do is play the cards you’re dealt. I think we got two outstanding coaches, and I think both (new head girls coach) Nick (Wood) and Mike (Lewis) will do a great job. I think this thing worked out great for everybody involved.”
Perhaps none more so than Lewis, who faced tough decisions about his future as recently as the team banquet May 17. At that time, Lewis, as well as the rest of the LHS basketball family, believed Davis was coming back for another season. Two weeks later, that all changed.
“When I got word that coach Davis had decided to retire, I was definitely caught off guard. I didn’t know what to think,” Lewis said.
Luckily for Lewis, there was little time to spend pondering a move. After digesting the news and weighing his thoughts about the commitment required to take over a varsity basketball program, he contacted LHS and expressed interest in applying for the job.
“It was a no-brainer,” Lewis said.
From there, things moved quickly. Brungardt said the school received 15 applications for the position. At that point, LHS assembled a search committee — made up of administrators, parents and student-athletes — and interviewed three finalists for the position.
Perry-Lecompton head coach Jeff Dickson and longtime Emporia High coach Rick Bloomquist also received interviews.
But in the end, it was Lewis’s connection to the program and community that allowed him to stand above the others. In addition to his three years of basketball experience, Lewis, 34, has coached girls golf at LHS for nine seasons.
Lewis will continue to coach girls golf in the fall but will have his attention turned squarely to hoops in the winter.
“The excitement in me to coach basketball and to do it at the 6A level and at Lawrence High is tremendous,” Lewis said. “This is an unbelievable opportunity.”
Lewis, whose family includes wife, Kristel, and sons Macade, 4, and Luke, 3, officially will be introduced as the school’s next coach at a 3 p.m. news conference Monday at LHS.