Retiring months ago from coaching high school football, a local state champion leader will be honored this month. Humbled by the responses and reminded of his age, Malcolm Lewis says he is honored to an inductee into the Northern Neck Sports Wall of Fame on April 13.
Credit to his wife Patricia for her social network skills, Lewis found out that the community was excited about the news.
“For me to have my name on the wall when I’m gone that’s pretty unique,” said Lewis. “It was a much appreciated [when I was contacted].”
“These awards are really cool for the ego, but tough to take, I don’t want to act like it was me,” Lewis added. “It was my wife, my sons, my mother, my brothers, my coaches and my players.”
This news comes after stepping down from his post as a football coach for 17 seasons this past summer.
“It’s been an emotional ride,” Lewis said, adding that he has had some urges to rejoin the program. “But when the wall of fame came around it gave that decision some finale. It’s bittersweet meaning I’ve done something right, but it also means that I’m at the end of a ride.”
Lewis is a two-time state champion coach, once as an assistant at Middlesex in 1993 and the other at Washington & Lee High School in 2001. He also played in the 1979 state championship with W&L.
Lewis said what he derived of football knowledge came from his high school coach at W&L, Tommy Dutton and former coach Bill Garbett, of Middlesex.
“I learned everything about the structure of football from them,” Lewis said. “I had been around success and saw how to prepare for it.”
“There were a lot of good players, lot of good coaches and help from family, and that is what this award has done to me. It has allowed me reflect on the people that are a part of it,” Lewis said.
Lewis said his fondest memory of coaching came in the final two minutes of the state championship win with the W&L Eagles when the team was up by two scores.
“The last two minutes were just surreal,” Lewis said. “When the official looked at me saying you don’t have to snap the ball again, I told my quarterback Joe Taylor ‘we’re done’ he dropped to his knees and started praying. That was venerable.”
Lewis originally got his start with football playing at a young age. It was his rec football coach, Jim Goforth, who would give Lewis his first coaching position at Middlesex High School.
W&L fans, parents and reporters were often times surprised about Lewis’s teams at the start of the season. Before the season would begin, it would almost seem the coach was downplaying his team’s capabilities.
To date, Lewis said he was being honest because he reflected on the weaknesses of his teams every season. He said he was even concerned about his state championship team at W&L.
“I meant every word, but everyone would chuckle,” Lewis said. “I guess that’s come to define me, but I was never lying.
I saw nothing, but the good in the 0-6 teams were playing and the bad in the team that was about to play them,” Lewis added. “As a good coach you need to keep your eye on the deficit of your football team. You need to stroke them and everything, but you need to be working on your weaknesses.”
As the head coach, Lewis holds an overall record of 123-58, four regional titles, one state title in 2001 and is the longest tenured and winningest coach at the high school’s history. He has been a football coach for a total of 25 years, the first eight were with the Middlesex Chargers as an assistant. He was also the head coach for the 2002 Virginia High School Coaches’ Association East All-Star Team.
Lewis is the husband to Patricia and two sons Landon and Evan. Both attend Virginia Tech University. He is in his ninth year as the athletic director at W&L and has been an educator for the past 26 years.
The ceremony will take place on April 13 at Dreamfields in Lancaster County beginning at 2 p.m.