Lewis deserved better at Douglas

I admit that I wasn't surprised when Keith Lewis announced his resignation as Douglas High's basketball coach a couple of days ago.

It ended what had been a roller coaster seven years for Lewis, who compiled an 81-87 record and took the Tigers to the zone playoffs four of those years.

What happened here was more than just a young, talented coach wanting to spend more time with his young family as Lewis, 33, indicated to the media. He is a devoted family man, but Lewis' last three years, whether he is willing to admit it publicly or not, haven't been a lot of fun.

He's had to endure a lot of criticism from parents over lack of playing time, and one ignorant parent even threatened Lewis and the school district with a lawsuit because he thought Lewis was jeopardizing his son's chances for a college scholarship. I just can't help but think that if there hadn't been so many parental issues the last few years, I don't think Lewis would be stepping down.

All I can say on that aforementioned lawsuit matter is that the student-athlete was an average player at best, and too many times tried to make the NBA-type of play instead of making the sound, smart play.

I'm not going to come out and say Lewis was the best basketball coach around, because he wasn't. But let me tell you in the 30 years I've been watching high school basketball, he was very, very far from the worst.

Coaching at Douglas High, or any other one high-school town, is hard. Every win and every loss is magnified. Quite simply, the problem at Douglas to a large degree is the parents. They want to mettle way too much and they want to criticize way too much. Parents should be seen and not heard.

Parents seem to have the ear of the Douglas administrators and school board way too much when it came to Lewis, and that's what's wrong with high school athletics.

A high school coach shouldn't be judged by the win-loss record. There should be other factors that go into it.

Does he treat the student-athletes correctly? When I say that, it doesn't mean he can't yell at them. Some kids do some incredibly stupid things on the basketball court because they don't think. In dealing with coach Lewis for two years, he never blamed a kid for losing a game and he didn't harass them.

Does he teach them the game of basketball? I would say yes. I think Douglas teams were prepared over the years, but really lacked the talent. Every Sierra League coach that I talked to always praised Lewis for how hard his teams played. You won't find kids that played any harder than Luke Rippee, Andy McIntosh, Nick Summers and Chris Honer. What they lacked in size or talent, they made up for in determination and heart.

One of the problems I saw was that Lewis always carried big (in number) squads, and that's not good. Twelve is a perfect number, and those last four players should be content with not getting a lot of playing time. Lewis was always between 13 and 15 players the last two years, and that only works if people on the bench accept their roles. Believe me, that wasn't the case at Douglas. There always seemed to be guys who thought they should be starting or playing more minutes.

According to a source, two fans berated Lewis after the Tigers beat Carson at Carson. Can you believe that? You beat your arch-rival on the road and you get bagged on by some parents who were upset at lack of playing time? Go figure.

Parents need to be realistic, but few are, and I find that more and more prevalent covering sports in Nevada.

I'm sorry to see Lewis go. He put tons of time into the program, and did a great job of working with elementary and middle-school players and helping develop them. I wish him the best, and whether Douglas fans realize it or not, they are losing a good coach.

Darrell Moody can be reached at dmoody@nevadaappeal.com, or by calling (775) 881-1281


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