For brand new Spring Hill athletic director and head football coach Jonny Louvier, bringing Dee Lewis on board to coach Lady Panther basketball and coordinate girls’ athletics was, in his words, a “no-brainer.”
“We kind of grew up together and knowing him pretty well, I felt like he was a good fit for what our girls program needed,” said Louvier of the fellow Gladewater graduate.
“I reached out to him to see if he was interested. He’s very well organized and knowledgeable. And that’s not just in basketball, but all sports. He’ll be a huge asset to the athletic program.”
For Lewis, the decision to leave Union Grove after seven successful years wasn’t easy. It took a whole lot of praying. Having coached boys basketball for 13 years, Lewis admitted to being a little apprehensive to coaching girls for the first time.
“I knew at some point I wanted to give myself the opportunity to coach girls. I have studied it and talked to a lot of coaches,” Lewis explained. “They tell me you get you a good group of girls they’ll do whatever it takes to be successful.
“I also have tremendous respect for Coach Louvier and having the chance to work with him was a factor.”
Lewis, 32, went to Kilgore College and later Lamar University. He got his first coaching job at Pine Tree and then moved to New Diana where he was head boys basketball coach one season.
From there, Lewis went to Union Grove to direct the boys basketball program. He took four of the seven teams he coached to the playoffs and won the school’s first district title in well over a half century.
“It’s simply a matter of getting the girls to buy into what you want to do. The opportunity is on the table for me to give it a try and here I am,” Lewis said.
Louvier said there was never any hesitation on his part asking Lewis to make the move over to the girls program.
“That’s a big job to coordinate a girls program and he’s up to the task. He’s gonna lead the coaches as well as the kids,” Louvier offered.
“I believe every coach has a job to do things the right way and make a difference. Dee will come to work everyday and he’ll make a difference.”
Lewis is the third girls coach in three years, replacing Kyle Bobbitt, who left after one season. Prior to Bobbitt, Alexann Yancey led the program two seasons.
“It’s exciting for me to be going to a program that’s looking for some stability.
“They’re looking to get things turned around,” Lewis said. “I gladly take the challenge to do that and get this community excited again about girls basketball.”