MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — Jasper native Michael Lewis wasted no time on Wednesday morning letting his personality show at the introductory press conference in Muncie.
Ball State University men’s basketball has a feisty new bench general who was nearly brought to tears when speaking about returning to the Hoosier State on a full-time basis.
“I have a burning desire to be successful,” Lewis said. “This job is very personal to me because I am in Indiana. To lead a program in a state where you grew up, where basketball means so much, is something I am very proud of.”
The former Indiana University standout point guard under Bob Knight is tasked with taking a Cardinals program back to the NCAA Tournament for the first time since his final collegiate season of 1999-2000.
“I am here to win championships,” Lewis said. “I am not coming back to this state to lose, as I said earlier, this is very personal… Patience is my biggest weakness. I didn’t come here to be patient.”
Lewis’ impressive 18-year run as an assistant coach includes time under Bob Knight at Texas Tech, Brad Stevens and Chris Holtmann at Butler, Tim Miles at Nebraska, and most recently Mick Cronin at UCLA.
Lewis and his wife Nicole, have moved seven times throughout this whirlwind coaching journey.
On Wednesday, the couple and their two daughters celebrated a new chapter in front of plenty of familiar faces from the Hoosier State who made the trip to Muncie to celebrate.
“I am not going to try to be Bob Knight, I am not going to try to be Brad Stevens, Mick Cronin, or Chris Holtmann, I want to be me,” Lewis said. “It has been good enough all the way until now, so I don’t really see with the help of some really good players, why it can’t be good enough here.”
This past season, the Cardinals (14-17, 9-10) finished 6th out of 12 teams in the MAC. Coach Lewis received great news this past week when star freshman center Payton Sparks (13.5 PPG, 8.5 REB) announced he withdrew his name from the transfer portal and will be returning to Muncie for his sophomore season.