Bev Lewis to retire after more than 30 years as UA coach, administrator
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Bev Lewis, the former University of Arkansas director of Women’s Athletics and now the Associate Vice Chancellor and Executive Associate Athletic Director, is retiring after more than 30 years with the UA.
Her retirement date is June 30, 2014, according to a statement from the University of Arkansas Athletic Public Relations Office.
“I came to the University of Arkansas as a young energetic first time head coach with lots of visions for my future in intercollegiate athletics,” Lewis said in the statement. “Who would have guessed that I would spend my entire career as a Razorback? What a wonderful career I have had to be a part of the remarkable growth of women’s sports in the 1990s, to work through the transition to the Southeastern Conference and to play a role in the overall development of our athletic department. Professionally it has been very rewarding to work in a capacity ranging from building fantastic facilities to the opportunity to work with great coaches, staff and student-athletes.”
Lewis said she and her husband Harley, who retired three years ago, will spend time at their home on the White River near Mountain Home and will spend summers in Michigan where she was raised.
Lewis, noted the statement, was instrumental in the seamless combining of the men's and women's athletic departments into one unified department. The UA statement also provided the following detail on her role at the UA.
• She serves as the coordinator of a five-member sport administrator group that provides day-to-day administrative support for each of Arkansas' 19 sports.
• In addition to overseeing the sport administrator group, she serves as sport administrator for men's and women's cross country, men's and women's track and field, men's and women's golf, gymnastics, softball and volleyball.
• Lewis has overseen media relations, oversees and coordinates the Razorback Performance Team, including the strength and conditioning programs, nutrition, psychology, athletic training and sports medicine for both men and women.
• Lewis stays involved in fund raising and serves as the athletic department liaison to the faculty senate and the faculty athletic committee, and coordinates the department's Title IX compliance.
“For more than 30 years, Bev Lewis has made a meaningful difference in the lives of thousands of student-athletes and helped shape the success of Razorback Athletics,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said in the statement. “As a coach and an athletics administrator, Bev has continued to be a leading advocate for expanding opportunities and enhancing the student-athlete experience. As the’ longtime Director of Women’s Athletics, she was instrumental in the growth and success of women’s sports not only at our institution but throughout the country.”
Lewis spent 19 years (1989-2007) as the director of Women's Athletics. During her tenure, the University of Arkansas has moved to increase athletic participation for women with the addition of volleyball, golf, gymnastics and softball. All four sports competed in NCAA post-season competition by each inaugural recruiting class’ senior season and have established themselves as nationally competitive programs.
Lewis received one of her greatest personal honors as Bob and Marilyn Bogle requested that Arkansas' new facility be named the Bev Lewis Center for Women's Athletics. Lewis’ leadership was also key to the construction of Bogle Park and Razorback Field, the home to Razorback softball and Razorback soccer, respectively.
Lewis served collegiate athletics at the highest level as an administrator, as a member of the NCAA Management Council, the NCAA Championship Cabinet and the Southeastern Conference Executive Committee.
In 1998, she was voted into the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor for her contributions as a coach and administrator.
Prior to assuming the duties of AD, Lewis’ Razorback women’s cross country and track teams had six top 20 national finishes, and she coached Team USA at the 1990 World Junior Cross Country Championships. Her Arkansas coaching milestones were numerous. Under her direction, cross country achieved three notable Lady Razorback firsts. On Oct. 4, 1984, her cross country team became the first women’s team to achieve a national ranking. She added the first top 10 finish to her resume in 1986 as cross country finished 10th at the NCAA Championships and backed it up with a ninth-place finish in 1987.
Lewis also coached Arkansas’ first women’s conference championship team at the 1988 Southwest Conference Cross Country Championships. As a result, her peers voted her SWC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. She also was named SWC Outdoor Track Coach of the Year in 1989.
Lewis earned her bachelor's degree from Central Michigan in 1979 and followed it with her master's from Purdue prior to her arrival at Arkansas in 1981. The former Bev Rouse, is married to Harley Lewis. Harley, is the former athletic director at the University of Montana, former assistant director of championships with the NCAA and a former development officer at the University of Arkansas.