Ball State men’s basketball has appointed a new head coach, and he’s back home again in Indiana.
Director of athletics Beth Goetz announced the hiring of current UCLA assistant coach and Jasper, Ind. native Michael Lewis Friday. The former Indiana University standout will begin the job in Muncie once the Bruins have concluded their season.
“Basketball in our state is personified in Michael Lewis,” Goetz said in a release by the school.
“His outlook on the game, relationship building, recruiting network, pedigree and proactive approach to engagement with our stakeholders resides at a high level. Additionally, his program values and standards on the court, in the classroom and the community will create a road map for the Cardinals to move onward, compete for Mid-American Conference titles and position our institution for a return to the NCAA Tournament. We are thrilled to welcome him, his wife Nichole along with their daughters Avery and Emma to Ball State.”
Lewis has spent 18 seasons as an assistant coach, including the last three at UCLA.
“Along with my family, I am very grateful for the opportunity to lead the men’s basketball program at Ball State University,” Lewis said. “Thank you to University President Geoff Mearns and Beth Goetz with whom I shared a vision for our program that will be aligned with their leadership and the values of Ball State. That united vision is paramount for success. We are very excited to return to the state of Indiana where basketball means so much to lead a program with tremendous history and great potential.”
In three seasons at UCLA, Lewis has helped guide the Bruins to a 68-29 overall record and two NCAA Tournament appearances, which includes a historic run to the 2021 Final Four in which the team won five consecutive games in a 13-day span. Lewis and UCLA are set to take on North Carolina in a Sweet 16 matchup Friday evening.
Prior to arriving at UCLA, Lewis was an assistant coach for three seasons at Nebraska. He served as the program’s offensive play-caller in 2017-18 and 2018-19, guiding Nebraska to 41 wins in those two seasons.
Lewis was instrumental in Butler’s success during a five-year stint with the Bulldogs from 2011-16. Through those five seasons, Butler went 108-63 and had four postseason appearances, including three NCAA Tournament berths. The Bulldogs won at least 20 games in four of Lewis’ five seasons on the coaching staff, including a 27-win campaign in 2012-13. While at Butler, Lewis worked on coaching staffs for head coaches Brad Stevens (2012-13), Brandon Miller (2013-14) and Chris Holtmann (2014-16).
Lewis, well-known as a prep and college basketball standout in the state of Indiana, was invited to be part of the Villa 7 Consortium in 2015, which brings together university athletic directors and the nation’s elite assistant coaches to help them prepare to become the next generation of college basketball leaders.
Lewis coached at Eastern Illinois for six seasons, prior to joining Butler’s program in May 2011. While at EIU, Lewis was named one of the “Top Five” assistant coaches in the Ohio Valley Conference (OVC) by FoxSports.com in 2010.
Lewis, who played at IU under head coach Bob Knight from 1996-2000, served as a graduate assistant for Knight for two seasons at Texas Tech before spending the 2004-05 season as an assistant coach at Stephen F. Austin. He earned his master’s degree in interdisciplinary studies from Texas Tech in 2004.
As a senior at Indiana (1999-00), Lewis served as team captain and secured third-team All-Big Ten honors. He was the Most Valuable Player of the 1999 Hoosier Classic and concluded his collegiate career as Indiana’s all-time leader in career assists (545). He now ranks second in career assists at his alma mater, as Yogi Ferrell had 633 assists from 2012-15. Lewis and Keith Smart are Indiana’s only two players to have logged a program-record 15 single-game assists. In addition, he led Indiana in assists per game as a sophomore (1998), junior (1999) and senior (2000).
Named to the Big Ten Conference’s All-Star Team that toured Europe in 1997, Lewis was later selected as the No. 46 player, on a list of 50 top players, from Indiana University in 2012 (compiled by the Indianapolis Star). He earned his undergraduate degree in sports management from Indiana in 2000 before playing professional basketball for two seasons, both domestically and overseas.
Lewis finished his high school career in 13th place on Indiana’s all-time high school scoring list with 2,138 career points at Jasper High School. He was named to the Indiana All-Star Team in 1996, following a senior season in which he captured Gatorade State Player of the Year acclaim.
Lewis and his wife, Nichole, have two daughters, Avery and Emma.
The Michael Lewis File
Ball State, Head Coach, 2022-
UCLA, Assistant Coach, 2019-22
Nebraska, Assistant Coach, 2016-19
Butler, Assistant Coach, 2011-16
Eastern Illinois, Assistant Coach, 2005-11
Stephen F. Austin, Assistant Coach, 2004-05
Texas Tech, Graduate Assistant, 2002-04
Born: July 27, 1977 in Jasper, Ind.
Family: Nichole (wife), Avery (daughter), Emma (daughter)
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