Matt Lewis has been elevated to interim head coach of the UW-Oshkosh men’s basketball program, assistant chancellor and director of athletics Darryl Sims announced Thursday (May 17).
Lewis, UW-Oshkosh’s top assistant men’s basketball coach for the previous six years, will guide the Titans for the 2018-19 campaign before the university conducts a national search for the position following the season. Lewis takes over for former UW-Oshkosh head coach Pat Juckem, who was announced as the new head coach at Washington University in St. Louis (Mo.) on May 1.
Over the past six seasons, Lewis has led UW-Oshkosh’s recruiting and scouting efforts that have yielded three consecutive appearances in the NCAA Division III Championship, including the program’s first trip to the national title game last March.
“After helping coach our team to the national championship game last season, Matt became the obvious choice to be chosen as the interim head men’s basketball coach at UW-Oshkosh,” said Sims. “He has played an integral part in the rise of our program and earned this opportunity to continue the growth of our student-athletes on the court, in the classroom and in the community. Matt’s passion and enthusiasm for the game of basketball is second to none and he will, without a doubt, provide a seamless transition for us heading into the 2018-19 season.”
With Lewis on the sidelines, UW-Oshkosh has compiled a 95-73 record from 2013-18. Lewis helped the Titans tie the school record with 25 wins in 2018 to cap a string of three straight top-three WIAC finishes for the first time since 1966-68.
Five Titans have combined for a total of seven All-WIAC First Team awards under Lewis’ association with the program, including Ben Boots, who in 2018 became UW-Oshkosh’s first all-region selection in nearly a decade.
Lewis and the Titans culminated their historic 2018 season with the school’s first Final Four appearance since a trip to the semifinal round of the 1968 National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics Championship. UW-Oshkosh, which ended the year ranked second in the country with a 25-8 record, defeated three consecutive ranked opponents during the NCAA postseason before falling to Nebraska Wesleyan University, 78-72, in the title game. The Titans established several program records in 2018, including 2,482 points scored and 301 made 3-pointers.
“I would like to thank Assistant Chancellor and Director of Athletics Darryl Sims and Chancellor Andrew Leavitt for the opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh,” said Lewis. “I am excited and honored to continue working with this exceptional group of young men, who have proved their high character and competitive drive is deserving of national success.”
In 2017 Lewis assisted the Titans to a 17-11 record, including a runner-up 9-5 mark in the WIAC. UW-Oshkosh, which reached the WIAC Championship final for the third straight season, received an at-large berth to the NCAA postseason, marking the first time since 2002-03 that the program advanced to the national tournament in consecutive seasons. Lewis and Titans ended the season allowing a WIAC-leading 65.4 points per game.
In the 2016 campaign, Lewis helped the Titans to an NCAA postseason appearance. UW-Oshkosh produced an 18-10 record, including a second-place 9-5 mark in WIAC play. The Titans, who ranked 14th in the country by allowing 64 points per game, clinched the WIAC’s automatic berth into the Division III Championship by winning a pair of home games in the league tournament.
During the 2015 season Lewis aided the Titans to a 16-12 overall record and an 8-8 mark in the WIAC for the program’s most total and league wins since 2009. UW-Oshkosh advanced to the title game of the WIAC Championship after knocking off eventual national champion UW-Stevens Point in the league tournament semifinals.
In Lewis’ first two seasons at UW-Oshkosh, the Titans compiled a 19-32 overall record, a 9-23 mark in the WIAC and a berth in the 2014 conference tournament. The Titans tied for fifth in the 2014 conference standings, marking the team’s best showing since 2009.
“We are a tradition-rich program, and I could not be more grateful that the support of the UW-Oshkosh community and the Oshkosh community at large is a part of that tradition,” Lewis said. “We look forward to continuing to represent the Titan Family both on and off the court.”
Lewis began his coaching career as an assistant men’s basketball coach at Rhodes College (Tenn.) in 2010. He also had coaching internships with Cornell College (Iowa) and NCAA Division I Tulane University (La.).
Lewis was the director of basketball operations for Tulane University from 2011-12. At Tulane, Lewis worked with the coaching staff on scouting, game plans and recruiting. He also coordinated the team’s travel, budget and camps while monitoring the academic progress of student-athletes. Lewis has also worked numerous basketball camps, including ones with the San Antonio Spurs, Lake Forest College (Ill.), Lawrence University and Viterbo University.
Lewis, a forward on the Cornell College basketball team from 2005-10, was a first-team selection in the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference in 2010. He received Cornell’s Sportsman of the Year award that season after averaging 13.5 points and 6.7 rebounds. In 2009, Lewis helped the Rams to a 21-7 record and a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. He finished his career with 659 points in 93 games, including 52 as a starter.
A Southeastern High School (Ill.) graduate, Lewis earned his bachelor’s degree (2010) in economics and business from Cornell College and his master’s (2013) in business administration from Bethel University (Tenn.).