Husky Hall of Famer Greg Lewis

Greg Lewis will be inducted into the University of Washington Husky Hall of Fame this month. "I'm humbled. For me it is a testament to the great teams and guys I played with at this university," said Lewis. "I just wish that the 10 other guys that helped me get there could go in too. They deserve it."

Lewis was one of the most elusive, tough, dependable runners that the Huskies have ever had. He wasn't the fastest guy in the 40 but there was perhaps no more consistent back than #20 in the Husky offense. If there was a crease in the line, Lewis would find it and make just the right amount of cuts and jukes to get the maximum out of every carry he earned.

As a new Hall of fame member, Lewis finds it ironic considering his job with the athletic department. "I am actually the person that is in charge of putting on the Hall of Fame event each year. That made it strange for me. The selection committee met back in April and selected six members. I was given those names so I could go contact them, and my name was on it."

Lewis was not part of the selection process, however. "I excused myself from the actual meeting that selected the names, but I coordinated the time and place and ensured that the committee all had a packet of each candidate. Once the meeting started, I left."

Still, Lewis knew that he could be chosen at that meeting. It hasn't really sunk in yet, and at the time he was too wrapped up in his job to be nervous about it. "I didn't think about it too much. It is the one thing that I fear most about my job - having to put on the Hall of Fame banquet because it is quite the undertaking. So that is what made me the most nervous, undertaking that large task. I have to make sure the video is right, the catering is right, the jackets are there, everyone can be there, and everything that goes into making it a special event. That is what really has me stressed out."

Lewis feels even more special, knowing that he will be entering the Hall of Fame with a man he has deep respect for, Jim Lambright. "There are no bigger Jim Lambright supporters of him being in the Hall of Fame than me. He is the coach that recruited me, he is the one that convinced me that coming to the UW would be the best thing for me and my football career. That turned out to be right on. And as a coach, if I ever needed to get the straight word on anything, particularly football related, he was the guy I could always go to. Knowing that he is going into the Hall of Fame is well warranted. He has been a part of more Husky games than anyone in school history."

Lewis played in the late 1980s, and notes that the times have changed, due to NCAA regulation, as to how football practices are conducted since he last suited up. "When I played football, we played FOOTBALL. Practice was physical and intense. We hit each other on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, making sure that when game day came around, that was the EASY part. That had a lot to do with the success of our football team and I certainly appreciated the ability to go out on game day and say, "You know what? These guys we're facing aren't nearly as tough as the guys I just faced all week in practice."

Lambright was the Defensive Coordinator at that time, and often told his guys to get after Lewis in practice with no quarter.

"They NEVER took it easy on me in practice. It was always a physical confrontation no matter if you were facing the scout team near the end of practice or the varsity defense in the middle of practice. We used to run a 9-on-7 drill where we would run all inside running plays. The defense knew where we were going with the ball so it was a matter of man-on-man tough against tough, putting your guy down. And I remember two of the guys that I always got into it with were James Clifford and Steve Emtman. I thought they were too big for their britches, so if they ever tackled me with a little too much aggressiveness, I made it a point to give them a face full of football. I considered myself a tough guy as well, so we started quite a few of those confrontations," recalled Lewis.

Lewis' teams looked drastically different than the recent Husky models, and he marvels at the changes. The differences in the uniforms, the towels hanging off the pants, the knots in the jerseys to show off the ripped abs, all made an impact on the field in terms of the psyche of the other team.

"When I watch the games of the teams from the late 1980s and early 1990s, I say, ‘Damn it, those guys are football players.' And no matter who played us, win or lose, they left at the end of the day knowing they played some FOOTBALL. They got hit, it was physical, and I'm sure they were ready to leave the football field by the time the fourth quarter came around. We were tough and we had some nasty guys, and not just on defense. Guys like Dean Kirkland, Jeff Pahukoa, Bern Brostek, those guys were mean, nasty guys. They would beat up on the defensive line and I really benefited from that. And let me tell you, I loved getting the chance of running into the secondary because I relished finding a cornerback or a safety and putting a hit on them."

Lewis is now on the sidelines for a lot of the games. When he is on the field and sees a third and one, what would he give to go out there and suit up one more time? "First I'd have to be healthy. But it would be special, not just for my satisfaction to go in and be on the gridiron one more time, but it would be awesome to give the Husky fans and the team and these coaches some of what I had to offer. If it's third down, I AM GOING TO GET THE FIRST DOWN."

Lewis laughs and then adds, "I want to go on record with this: Gary Pinkel and Keith Gilbertson, in my senior year against Colorado, first and goal on the seven, you should've given the ball to me. That is one I want back. If you just could've given me the ball ONE of those four downs, that's all I ask." Top Stories