Quincy Lewis: Back to campus for the former high school basketball coach

Dean Bailey
Former Lone Peak High School coach Quincy Lewis is BYU’s new basketball coach. He coached high school for 12 years before coming to BYU.

Quincy Lewis is adjusting to life at college. After years in high school, the BYU newbie is orienting himself around campus while he acclimates to the environment, students, resources and athletic program. Although he’s not a student, the new BYU basketball assistant coach can relate to BYU freshmen who are transitioning to life on campus.

Lewis has been at BYU for less than three months. Previously, he was the basketball head coach at Lone Peak High School in Alpine, Utah, for 12 years. While Lewis is not new to college coaching — he coached at the collegiate level for eight years at the beginning of his career — coming to BYU has been a transition after more than a decade at the high school level.

One factor that makes the transition easier is the home-like quality Provo has for Lewis. He and his wife of 14 years, Debbie, were both born and raised in Provo, which makes the move from Lone Peak to BYU a return to the familiar.

“For us, it’s kind of neat because we love Lone Peak, but in many ways, this is coming home for us,” Quincy Lewis said.

Debbie Lewis agreed. “As much as we loved our job at Lone Peak, and loved being here, I still have always dreamed of being back in Provo,” she said. “It’s really exciting and fun for me to help get my kids into having a BYU childhood.”

Quincy Lewis has been at BYU for a short time but said it has been great so far. Dave Rose, BYU basketball head coach, was Lewis’s coach when he played at Dixie State University back when it was a junior college. Both Lewis and Rose are quick to point out that they have known each other for more than 25 years. This relationship has helped Lewis’s transition be “comfortable,” he said.

Another factor that makes Lewis’ transition to BYU a little easier is his familiarity with some of the players. In fact, many players that Lewis coached at Lone Peak, including Tyler Haws and Jackson Emery, have also played at BYU.

“I’ve coached a couple of the kids they have this year, and in addition, I’ve known a lot of their other players through coaching against them in high school, and so from that standpoint, it’s been a very smooth transition,” Lewis said.

This season, Lewis will get the opportunity to reunite with Nate Austin and Nick Emery, and in 2016, Lone Peak graduates TJ Haws and Eric Mika will return from their missions and play basketball for BYU.

Lewis said he is looking forward to getting to work with all of the players, not only those he formerly coached. “With Nate and Nick, it’s really fun to reunite with those guys, and I had great relationships with them when they left. But it’s exciting, too, to be able to get to know all the other guys on the team and be able to work with them.”

So far in the offseason, Quincy Lewis has been able to work with many of the players, since much of his job includes individual workouts with the players.

Lewis’ thorough coaching background and winning streak at Lone Peak have given him invaluable experience. After playing two years of basketball at Dixie College in St. George and two years at Wagner College in Staten Island, New York, he spent a total of eight years coaching at the college level between BYU—Hawaii, Utah Valley State College and Southern Utah University after which he moved on to the Lone Peak Knights.

“It’s been great (having Quincy at BYU). He’s a really experienced coach. He’s been around for a long time, coached at a lot of levels, so he brings a lot of good experience to the table, and he fits in really well,” Rose said. “He’s obviously been successful everywhere he’s been.”

At Lone Peak, Lewis led his team to seven state titles and 10 regional titles. During those years, coaching was a family affair. Debbie Lewis said their four kids are used to their dad being the basketball coach; even their 7-year-old daughter was in the habit of running to the locker room after games to give her dad a hug. “They just think that’s just normal,” she said.

Over the years, the Lewis family has attended countless mission farewells, homecomings and weddings of former Knights. The players are a big part of the whole family’s life. Debbie Lewis said she and three of her kids recently went to visit Nick Emery because he lives in the area and had a small injury.

While there are likely to be many changes that accompany the move to Provo, Debbie Lewis said she is excited to have some of the former Lone Peak players with them at BYU and she’s looking forward to giving her kids a BYU upbringing similar to hers. In years past, Debbie Lewis said her kids would maybe get to go to one BYU football game and one basketball game each year, but that will change now that Quincy Lewis is a coach at BYU.

Right now, Quincy Lewis is doing a lot of individual workouts with the players and recruiting for the upcoming season, but he anticipates he will be doing more during the season. He said the three roles that come to mind are recruiting, on-court coaching and individual workouts.

“I think my greatest challenge is relearning the resources that I have at a college level that I can use,” he said. “Whereas in high school, you do just about everything except for drive the bus.”

“I think it’s going to be an adjustment for him,” Rose said. “He’s obviously familiar with a few of our players, but this is a whole different experience.”

Ultimately, Lewis’ goal is to be as good as he can be wherever he is. “If that leads to other things, then we can cross that bridge when we come to it,” he said. He’s not chasing jobs or things out of his control; he just wants to be good where he is and see what happens from there.

Lewis carries that philosophy onto the court. As far as goals for BYU basketball go, he said, “Very simply, we want to be as good a team as we are capable of becoming, and my job is to help us get to that point, whatever that is. And hopefully what that means is a deep run into the NCAA tournament.”

Rose said he has a lot of confidence in Lewis and looks forward to coaching with him.

When Lewis was at Lone Peak, BYU brought in many recruits from Alpine. He played an important role in that, but he doesn’t think his relocation will change recruiting too much. “I know the coaches who are there now currently very, very well, and certainly know the community and many of the players as well,” Lewis said. “Hopefully, we can continue the pipeline from Lone Peak.”

Lewis and his family are excited to be back in their hometown and are looking forward to being a part of the BYU family.

“At the end of the day, I’m just really excited to be a part of the program,” he said. “I get to come to work and do basketball every day, and that’s a really neat thing, and I get to be at a university that I share the same values (with), so that’s really neat to be a part of something that’s greater than just a basketball team.”

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