Jeremy Lewis begins his eighth season as head coach for womenâ€™s basketball at Cumberland University and his 12th as a full-time coach at his alma mater. It also marks Lewisâ€™ 16th year as a member of the Phoenix family as both a player and coach.
Lewis led the program to one of the most successful years in school history in 2012-13, finishing 33-3 overall and No. 4 in the final rankings. The Phoenix won the Mid-South Conference regular season and tournament titles and reached the NAIA Fab Four for the second time in program annals.
He was voted Mid-South Conference and Womenâ€™s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Russell Athletic/Region 5 Coach of the Year during the campaign. CU made its fifth appearance in the NAIA National Tournament and first since 2007.
Cumberland was ranked in the Top 10 nationally from the first regular season poll of the year in December until the postseason, reaching as high as No. 5 in the country, then the highest ranking ever for the program. The Phoenix won their first regular season and conference tournament titles since 1998-99, also in the Mid-South Conference, and set the school record for victories, surpassing the previous mark of 27 held by the 1998-99 and 2006-07 squads.
Jessica Pace earned First Team All-Mid-South Conference accolades and TaCouya Allen, Briannica Tye and London Elie each garnered Second Team All-MSC honors. Pace also received Honorable Mention All-America honors from the WBCA and Second Team All-America accolades from the NAIA.
Lewis took over the womenâ€™s program in May 2009 as interim head coach and had the interim tag removed by Director of Athletics Ron Pavan in January 2010. The Phoenix finished the season 9-18 overall in his first year but dropped nine games by seven points or less during the campaign. Allysia Bailey was voted TranSouth Conference Newcomer of the Year, Stephanie Martin was an All-Freshman Team selection and four players earned TranSouth Scholar-Athlete honors.
CU improved to 14-16 in 2010-11 and upped its record in TranSouth Conference play to 6-10. The squad lost five games by nine points or less that season as well. Casie Cowan garnered Second Team All-TranSouth and All-Freshman Team accolades and four players were named TranSouth Scholar-Athletes.
The 2011-12 club started the season 3-10 overall with losses to three ranked teams and three others who were ranked in the second half of the campaign. That stretch included single-digit defeats to future Mid-South Conference opponents St. Catharine College, Lindsey Wilson, Campbellsville University, Georgetown College and the University of the Cumberlands.
The Phoenix turned the season around in January, winning 12 of their final 16 contests, including two losses to eventual national runner-up Union University by a combined seven points. Cowan earned Honorable Mention All-America honors at the end of the season while Tamara Gonzalez was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete. Cowan garnered First Team All-TranSouth honors for the second straight season and Simone Ryan and Courtney Atkinson both garnered Second Team accolades.
In 2013-14 the club suffered through a myriad of issues from injuries to illness and ineligibility. Despite a depleted roster that included several games with only seven healthy bodies, Cumberland battled to a 9-9 mark at the end of January that included six defeats and a pair of wins over ranked opponents. The lack of depth showed in the month of February, with the squad losing seven straight before ending the year with a victory on Senior Day.
Cowan and Allen both earned Second Team All-Mid-South Conference honors and Tasia Blue was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
In 2014-15 Cumberland began the year 8-2 before a double overtime home loss to then fifth-ranked Campbellsville. Injuries and ineligibility changed the club for the second half of the season, with CU dropping 6-of-7 including the Campbellsville loss, but the squad rebounded to win seven of its final 11 outings in the regular season and conference tournament.
Cumberland received an at-large berth into the NAIA National Tournament, the second time under Lewis. Chelsey Hall earned First Team All-Mid-South and Third Team All-America accolades while Tasia Blue, Maryann Fenner and Andrea Morrisett were all named NAIA Scholar-Athletes.
Last season the Phoenix posted a 10-3 mark to start the campaign before running into trouble in the final game before Christmas, losing to Huntington University. That loss sent the club into a tailspin, dropping 6-of-8 contests. CU righted the ship in February, winning six of its final eight regular season games and earning another at-large berth into the national tournament.
Cumberland upset fourth-ranked Bethel University in the national tourney before falling to Lewis-Clark State. Hall garnered Third Team All-America honors again and Nicole Bowers was named Honorable Mention All-America while Hall was named an NAIA Scholar-Athlete.
Before becoming the womenâ€™s head coach, Lewis served four seasons as a full-time assistant for coach Lonnie Thompson and the CU menâ€™s team. His roles included scouting, recruiting, film exchange and budgeting, as well as monitoring the student-athletesâ€™ progress both on and off the court. His main responsibilities included developing the teamâ€™s wing and guard positions, composing scouting reports for game preparation and recruiting incoming student-athletes. During his four seasons as an assistant coach, the Phoenix compiled a 68-56 overall mark, including 46-18 in the final two seasons with consecutive trips to the NAIA National Tournament in 2008 and 2009.
Lewis spent three seasons as the starting point guard at Cumberland from 2002-04 before serving one season as a graduate assistant for the Phoenix womenâ€™s basketball staff in 2005. As a player he was named Honorable Mention All-Conference as a junior and senior and garnered National Scholar-Athlete and Academic All-Conference accolades as a senior. He was the starting point guard on CUâ€™s team that reached the Round of 16 and won the TranSouth Conference regular season championship in 2004.
He graduated from CU in May of 2004 with a bachelorâ€™s in Sports Administration and is currently working on his masterâ€™s in Education Administration.
Lewis prepped at Beech High School in Hendersonville, Tenn., and played one season at Aquinas Community College in Nashville under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Charlie Anderson before transferring to Cumberland.