Director of Women's Athletics
Bev Lewis begins her 23rd season at the University
of Arkansas with the same goal as director of women's athletics that
had when she arrived as the Lady Razorbacks' cross country and track
coach: helping young women fulfill their goals of a college degree and
excellence at the University of Arkansas.
The 2003-04 season marks Lewis' 15th at the
helm of the Women's Athletics Department. During her tenure as a coach
and administrator, she has left her mark on the University and defined
women's athletics on a state, regional and national level. Lewis took
over the AD duties in June 1989 after serving eight years as the Lady
Razorback cross country and track coach. For one year she held both
stepping down as a head coach in 1990.
The hallmark of her time as the Director
of Women's Athletics has been the overall excellence of her entire program.
During her time as athletic director, every Lady Razorback sport has
a new pinnacle from basketball reaching the Women's Final Four in 1998
to the national runner-up trophy earned by cross country and national
third place by track in the 2000 season.
In 2001, Lewis received one of her greatest
personal honors as long-time University benefactors Bob and Marilyn
requested that Arkansas' $6 million facility for Lady Razorbacks be named
the Bev Lewis Center for Women's Athletics. On April 9, 2003, before
a standing room only crowd of family and friends, she had the honor of
cutting the ribbon on the facility.
Three years earlier, she was
voted into the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor by the University's
letterwinners in recognition of her contributions to the Women's Athletics
Department both as a coach and an administrator.
As Athletic Director, Lewis was instrumental
in taking the Lady Razorbacks to the next level providing the staff, facilities
and budget to be successful. In recognition of her outstanding achievements,
Lewis was named to Arkansas Business magazine's "Top 100 Women in Arkansas"
in 1996, 1997 and 1998. Lewis was a member of the "40 Under 40" which
highlighted the achievements of business leaders in Arkansas who were
under 40 years old during those same years.
She has served in leadership roles on committees
for the Southeastern Conference and the NCAA. After serving four years
on the NCAA Championship Cabinet, she is currently a member of the NCAA
Management Council. A former member of the track and field committee
and its outdoor chair, she aslo served on the NCAA soccer committee.
She also served a term on the SEC Executive Committee from 1992 to 1995.
Lewis orchestrated the addition of four sports
at the University. The first phase of expansion came in the mid-1990s.
Volleyball took the court in 1994, with golf hitting the links in 1995
and softball taking the field in 1996-97. After building these three
into NCAA tournament participants, Lewis has moved forward again. Her
selection of gymnastics to become the 11th Lady Razorback sport resulted
in Arkansas immediately becoming a major player in the sport, ranking
fourth in the nation in attendance.
Lewis brought national attention to Arkansas
as it hosted numerous SEC Championships as well as the 1994 NCAA Women's
Basketball Mideast Regional, the 1994 NCAA Division I Cross Country Championship
and the 1999 WNIT Championship.
However, as a former track coach Lewis takes
particular pride in the University's role in hosting the NCAA Men's and
Women's Indoor Track and Championships for the past four years.
Prior to assuming the duties of AD, Lewis'
Lady Razorback 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 Lady'Back
squad to achieve a national ranking. Arkansas finished that season ranked
16th, and it started an impressive run in the polls as the Lady'Backs
have been ranked during the season in 15 of the past 16 seasons.
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. Her coaching was instrumental
in establishing Arkansas' perfect record of sending a team or individual
to every collegiate national meet since the program's inception.
Lewis also coached Arkansas' first 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
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.
Her husband, Harley, former athletic director
at the University of Montana and a former assistant director of championships
with the NCAA, works with the University of Arkansas as director of development
for the Chancellor's Scholarship program.