University of Houston coaching legend Guy Lewis has died at age 93

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Friday, November 27, 2015
Celebrated UH basketball coach Guy V Lewis dies
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Former University of Houston basketball coach Guy V. Lewis has died. (AP Photo)

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- University of Houston coaching legend Guy Lewis has died. He was 93.

Lewis' reign over UH basketball lasted three decades, from 1956 to 1986. He produced nearly 600 wins and 27 consecutive winning seasons, including five NCAA Final Four appearances.

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Guy Lewis, a member of the 2013 class of inductees into the Basketball Hall of Fame, smiles during a news conference at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
AP Photo/ Jessica Hill

Lewis is most widely known for producing the Phi Slama Jama team, which developed Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler, with a game played above the rim.

"He always said the dunk is a much safer and accurate shot than a jump shot, so he told his players, 'Anytime you can dunk, do so.' And Phi Slama Jama was born," the coach's son, Vern Lewis said.

Perhaps his most important contribution to the game is his recruiting of African American athletes well before the Civil Rights era.

VIDEO: KTRK archive film of Guy Lewis, Elvin Hayes and UH basketball team boarding plane in February 1966

"He saw that the great players, many were African Americans. And he said, 'In order for Houston to compete, I'll have to get some African American players,'" Vern Lewis said.

Lewis was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame back in 2013. Two of his former players -- Elvin Hayes and Hakeen Olajuwon -- presented the honor.