Jim Lewis has been named interim women’s basketball coach at Georgetown, the university announced Thursday.
The move comes two weeks after Keith Brown resigned from the position. The university eight days earlier had placed Brown on administrative leave amid complaints from players over inappropriate conduct and abusive language during practices.
Lewis, whose interim tag will be reevaluated at the end of the season, most recently served as an assistant in the WNBA with the Los Angeles Sparks and is a familiar name in area women’s basketball.
“I came home from being out there because I just made a commitment to never ever want to leave the area again, not knowing what would open up, preferably in coaching because that’s what I do,” Lewis said during a telephone interview. “When the situation occurred here at Georgetown, I just saw it as divine intervention.”
Lewis, 66, was the first head coach of the Washington Mystics in 1998 and before that served in the same capacity at George Mason from 1984 through ’97, becoming the winningest coach in Patriots women’s basketball history. Lewis also has served as girls’ coach at T.C. Williams High School and boys’ coach at South Lakes.
Since Brown’s resignation, it had been unclear who would be directing the program this season. The Hoyas’ three assistants jointly had been conducting practices. No coaches accompanied the Hoyas to Big East media day last week in New York.
Among those assistants is Tim Valentine, who was suspended along with Brown before being reinstated. The other two assistants are Krystal Reeves-Evans and Kenya Kirkland, who played for the Hoyas from 2006 to ’10.
Lewis said he would not be making changes to the staff this season.
“The most impressive thing, not only does [Lewis] have 44 years of experience, not only has a lot of his experience been here in the District or the DMV, I think the best thing about him is his temperament and his understanding of how to work with young women,” Georgetown Athletic Director Lee Reed said. “How to have them reach their maximum potential and do that in a way that’s very effective.”
Lewis had yet to meet his players when the announcement was made, but he said that process would begin immediately.
The Hoyas are among the youngest teams in the Big East, with nine of the 11 players on the roster either sophomore or freshmen, as they seek to begin a new era following the graduation of Sugar Rodgers, the school’s all-time scoring leader who helped the Hoyas to three consecutive NCAA tournaments.
Georgetown has two seniors, Samisha Powell and Andrea White, both of whom represented the team at Big East media day, as well as one of the top recruiting classes in the conference.
The Hoyas begin their season Nov. 8 against Richmond at McDonough Gymnasium. Georgetown finished 15-16 last season under Brown in his only season as coach.
“I left Los Angeles without a job,” said Lewis, whose two grown children live in Northern Virginia. “The overriding factor was wanting to be home, so this could not be any better.”