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Chat Wrap: Greg Lewis
Release: 08/30/2006
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Aug. 30, 2006

Husky legend and current Executive Director of the Big "W" Alumni Club Greg Lewis joined for a live chat on Wednesday, Aug. 30.

Lewis is in his sixth year as the staff liason to the Big "W" Alumi Club, and added Special Assistant to the Athletic Director to his title in 2004. Lewis is currently responsible for the development and implementation of programs and services engaging former student athletes, including the Huskies' Legends Program, which recongnized former Husky greats at UW home football games.

Lewis made a name for himself as a star tailback at Washington from 1987 to 1990. As a senior, he rushed for 1,279 yards, a school record at the time, and earned Pac-10 Conference Offensive Player of the Year honors. Besides winning the inaugural Doak Walker Award, given to the nation's top junior or senior running back, he finished seventh in the Heisman Trophy voting, the highest finish ever for a Husky offensive player.

After he finished his college career, Lewis spent two seasons with the Denver Broncos before returning to complete his degree in political science from UW in 1993.

Greg Lewis: Hi, I'm here and ready to answer your questions.

Bobby (Yakima): What are some of your biggest moments when you were a Husky player? And what are some of the satisfactions you get from your current job?

Greg Lewis: Obviously the Rose Bowl victory over Iowa in 1991 was huge. Also earlier that season the 33-0 victory over USC was a definite highlight.

I enjoy helping the current Student-Athletes with career connections and helping them get started with their lives after athletics.

Bill (Redmond): If you were to tell a kid why they should attend the UW and play football for Coach Willingham, what would you say?? Thanks for your time.

Greg Lewis: Coach Willingham is a man of high integrity who wants the best for his players both on and off the field. He will help them become the best football players they can be and also the best human beings they can be. I also believe he is building the program the right way and we will return to the dominant team on the west coast in the near future.

Greg Jessup, Seattle: I heard you were also a phenomenal basketball player in the days and could throw down some dunks...true?

Greg Lewis: I had a 42-inch vertical and a mean streak on the basketball court. My senior year in high school I led the Metro League in rebounding at 5-foot-10 and averaged 20 points per game for Ingraham High School. I had a few really nice dunks in my career...these days I'm 270 pounds with two bad knees, so my dunking days are over.

Jackie Montoya (Bellingham, WA): You are one of my favorite all-time Huskies. What are some of your thoughts on how we can get this program back to the way it was when you played?

Greg Lewis: Thanks for the compliment. It takes good sound recruiting and establishing discipline and having consistency. If we win six games or more this year, I believe we will have a phenomenal recruiting class. Coach Willingham preaches discipline and consistency just as Coach James did and you see the success he had. We just need to bring in hard-nosed, hard-working, tough players. And we will be back!

David (Portland): Congrats on making the Husky Hall of Fame. What does that honor mean to you?

Greg Lewis: For any running back to achieve an honor they must have a great offensive line. This honor means the guys that blocked for me were great Huskies. I am just honored to receive this award on behalf of all the linemen that paved the way for every yard I gained and every touchdown I scored.

Bill (Puyallup): Greg, I always enjoyed watching you play during your days as a DAWG. I recently read an article about Dana Hall (in Sports Washington), who has recently begun to come around and again be a part of the program. With Coach Willingham on board, are other former players starting to come back and support the program again? Can you tip your hand as to who we might see this year for "Husky Legends?"

Greg Lewis: I am the Executive Director of the Big "W" Club which creates opportunities for former Husky athletes to get involved with the program. In the last five years that I've held this job we have gotten several former star athletes to get involved with what were doing here. Coach Willingham has definitely been a supporter of our efforts. You will see more guys, like Dana Hall, Lawyer Milloy, Larry Triplett, Mark Brunell and Brock Huard getting involved.

This year you will see a couple of starting linebackers from the National Championship team and a few other suprises.

Phil H. Seattle: Greg, in your mind, who was the greatest Husky to ever don the purple and gold?

Greg Lewis: There are a lot of great players who have donned the purple and gold. Warren Moon, Hugh McElhenny, Steve Emtman, Michael Jackson, and a host of others. When I was a kid, Jaques Robinson was the main reason I began to watch Husky football. In my opinion, Marques Tuiasosopo may have had the single most important impact on his team then any other Husky player. Napoleon Kaufman certainly had an outstanding Husky career. There are too many great players to name the best and several great ones whom I never had the chance to see play.

seattle: I was a member of Ingraham high like you. What kind of activities do you participate to help out your alma matter just as the University of Washington?

Greg Lewis: I'm currently a member of the Ingraham Foundation Board which helps raise money to support my alma mater. I was the keynote speaker at the Ingraham graduation in 2004 and I have gone back and spoken to the football team on several occasions and go to as many games as I possibly can. Once a Ram, always a Ram! GO IHS!!

Shawn (Seattle): Growing up in Seattle and attending the UW can you talk about the importance of recruiting the best local kids to UW and how you feel Washington can improve in that area? Thanks

Greg Lewis: It is very important to keep the best local kids in state and having great repoire with the local high school coaches. Coach James did a great job of this. I think we began doing this by getting Jake Locker this year and some other good players from the state of Washington we will need to begin a winning tradition with this group of players in order to get ALL the great players that are up and coming through the Washington high schools. For a blue print, look at what men's basketball coach Lorenzo Romar is doing.

Frank Prince, Jr. (Port Angeles): Greg: What do you see as the biggest similarities and differences between Husky football of today and from when you played for the UW?

Greg Lewis: I think Coach Willingham is a lot like Coach James. He commands respect from his players, he teaches toughness, discipline, and attention to detail. College football has changed tremendously since my days as a Husky. There are fewer scholarships available, fewer days and hours that the kids can practice, and less time to prepare during the off season. Because of these new rules, you can't be as physical and work as long and hard as we did, so things might be slightly less physical during preparation.

Nick (Seattle): How do you like the Husky RBs this year?

Greg Lewis: As I said earlier, it takes a great offensive line to make a great running back. I think Kenny James, Louis Rankin and Shelton Sampson have enough talent to be very good running backs. Kenny James has toughness and the ability to make guys miss in the hole. Louis Rankin has home run speed. Shelton Sampson has a combination of talents that make him a quality back. If the O-line holds up, opens some holes and pushes a few guys around, our running backs will do just fine.

Rick (Yakima): What was it like playing for the Huskies?

Greg Lewis: The University of Washington is a program filled with history and tradition. From my early days, I learned how important toughness was. Being a part of a Rose Bowl championship team was the highlight of my career, but running down the tunnel, the comraderie with my teammates, the 72,500 screaming Husky fans all played a part in making my experience unbelievable. Husky football did more for me than I ever did for it. I am indebted to Husky football and that's why I proudly serve as Director of the Big "W" Club and as an employee for the UW and its athletic department. DAWG FOR LIFE!

Greg Lewis: Thanks everyone for all your questions. Sorry I couldn't answer them all. Go Dawgs and everyone please come out and support the team on Saturday and beyond!!
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