When it comes to coaching high school baseball, Harlem head coach Jimmie Lewis has done it all.
For the past 27 years, the coach has won five baseball state championships, seen his players move on to the NCAA level and earned more than 500 career coaching wins.
On Jan. 21, the coach and his accomplishments were recognized in Atlanta as Lewis was inducted into the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame.
Lewis joined local coaches Terry Holder (Thomson) and Gerald Barnes (Westside) who are already a part of the hall of fame.
Former Bulldog catcher Barrett Davis said the honor was much-deserved.
"I saw it coming," said Davis, who graduated from Harlem last year. "I'm happy for him. He's a good Christian guy, and he knows every aspect of the game."
With a rsum like the one Lewis boasts, the Harlem baseball coach could have taken a better-paying, more illustrious job at the college level years ago.
In fact, Davis said that topic came up six years ago when the Harlem football team, also under Lewis' guidance, made the state playoffs for the first time since 1974.
"I remember a sports person asked him if he thought about going to try to coach at the college level," Davis said. "He said not unless they come out with a Harlem University."
Lewis has spent his entire life as a Bulldog.
He graduated from Harlem in 1970 after playing both football and baseball. After almost three decades of giving back to his alma mater, Lewis said his loyalty is as strong as ever.
"This is where I was born, where I've worked, and it's where I'll die," Lewis said in his typical upfront manner.
No one knows it better than his son, Randy Lewis, who played under his father when the team reached one of its seven state championship game appearances.
"He's a real class act," Randy Lewis said. "He cares more about the team than anything. That's what he's taught me and it's still helping me out in my life."
Coach Lewis will enter his 28th year of coaching Bulldog baseball next month when the 2006 season kicks off.
Although he's now considered a hall of fame coach, Lewis said the award falls back on the entire baseball program.
"All I did when I went up there Saturday is represent Harlem baseball," Lewis said. "The players and assistant coaches are the reason I got to go up there. My name goes in, but my name represents hundreds of names. Good players make good coaches."
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