The UCLA men’s basketball program has hired Michael Lewis as an assistant coach, as announced Thursday by Mick Cronin, The Michael Price Family UCLA Men’s Head Basketball Coach.
Lewis has worked on college basketball coaching staffs for the past 17 seasons, including the previous three years as an assistant coach at Nebraska. Lewis’ previous coaching stops have included five seasons at Butler (2011-16), six seasons at Eastern Illinois (2005-11) and one year at Stephen F. Austin (2004-05).
UCLA has also added Greg Youncofski as the program’s Director of Recruiting/Player Personnel. Youncofski spent the previous six seasons on the men’s basketball staff at the University of Cincinnati after having graduated from the University of Kansas in 2013. In his role at UCLA, he will oversee the program’s analytics and advanced scouting of opponents and all recruiting databases and schedules.
“Michael Lewis is a tremendous basketball coach who has worked with three great coaches, in Brad Stevens, Chris Holtmann and Tim Miles,” Cronin said. “He’s someone I have known and respected for many years. He brings experience as a great offensive coach. Darren, Rod and now Michael make up a dynamic, experienced and hard-working coaching staff to help us build UCLA basketball back into a championship-caliber program.”
Lewis, a former standout guard at Indiana University, played a major role the past three seasons at Nebraska with the development of the team’s guards. He served as the program’s offensive coordinator the past two seasons, helping lead Nebraska to the National Invitational Tournament (NIT) each year. The Huskers’ 41 victories the past two seasons were the most in consecutive years since Nebraska had 45 victories in 1990-91 and 1991-92. The Huskers went 22-11 in 2017-18, registering their highest scoring average in 22 seasons. That team finished fourth in the Big Ten Conference, compiling a school-record 13 league victories.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity for me and my family,” Lewis said. “I am very grateful to Coach Cronin to be able to join the coaching staff at UCLA. He has a clear vision for how to build a consistent winner, and our staff will do everything possible to help him get the Bruins back to the top. I’m excited to join Darren Savino and Rod Palmer on this coaching staff, and I can’t wait to get to work.”
Lewis was an instrumental part of Butler’s success during his five-year stint in Indianapolis (2011-16). In five seasons, Butler went 108-63 and had four postseason appearances, including trips to the NCAA Tournament in 2013, 2015 and 2016. The Bulldogs recorded at least 20 wins in four of his five seasons on the coaching staff, including a 27-9 mark in 2012-13 under head coach Brad Stevens. Three of his student-athletes at Butler earned CoSIDA Academic All-America accolades, while Kellen Dunham and Alex Barlow combined to earn three consecutive Big East Scholar-Athlete of the Year Awards during Lewis’ tenure at Butler.
Lewis was an assistant coach at Eastern Illinois for six seasons, prior to joining the coaching staff at Butler in May 2011. While at Eastern Illinois (Charleston, Ill.), he was named one of the top five assistant coaches in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) by FoxSports.com in 2010. Eastern Illinois went 19-12 in 2009-10, marking the program’s third-highest win total since becoming a Division I program.
A prep standout at Jasper High School (Jasper, Ind.), Lewis excelled as a four-year guard at Indiana University under head coach Bob Knight (1997-00). He served as a graduate assistant for two seasons at Texas Tech before spending the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin (Nacogdoches, Texas).
Lewis, 41, graduated from Indiana in 2000 as the program’s all-time leader in assists (545). He now ranks second in that category, behind Yogi Ferrell (633 assists from 2012-15). Lewis tied Indiana’s single-game assists record (15) during the team’s regular-season finale at Iowa on Feb. 28, 1998.
Lewis and his wife, Nichole, have two daughters, Avery and Emma.