Tuesday, March 22, 2011

"Dr Benjamin Lewis, coach, teacher and friend"

I'm sure that all of us have had a person or two in our life that we would consider special because of the influence and impact. Benjamin M. Lewis, is one such person, who certainly had a great impact upon my life and many of my fellow tennis team members. We all attended Hamline University in St. Paul, Minnesota during the years 1960-65 and all came to affectionately love and respect this man. Many of us called him "Doc" to his face, but behind the scenes, many of us referred to "Doc" as "the Wizard," because many tennis fortunes, records and championships came our way. For us "Doc" was a reserved, dignified man who always demonstrated the qualities of honesty and integrity and he etimoinze sportsmanship as our coach. As my good friend, Bruce McKinnon, who is in the above picture, noted,

"Ben was clearly a man of academic accomplishment and always conducted himself in a professional manner. While seemingly quiet and laid back, he was articulate and demonstrated sensitivity coupled with a disarming sense of humor. He consistantly showed great wisdom and leadership (by example and action). He genuinly cared about each team member regardless of player rank. Dr. Lewis was respected and admired by every member of his tennis teams without reservation. He was clearly a man of unquestionable character and a genuinely first class human being."

"In his coaching Ben combined the perfect mix of organization, structure, quiet motivation and knowledge of the game of tennis as our coach. He was deeply involved in the success of his men – as individuals, students, players and most of all – as a team. Consequently, his players worked hard to be good representatives for Hamline, the sport and the team -- given the very nature of Ben’s example. While VERY knowledgeable of the mechanics of the sport (he was also a good tennis player), his coaching focused on supporting his players in a watchful and quiet way. When Dr Lewis occasionally made comments about a players tennis skills (or lack there of), his observations were always perceptive and articulated in a thoughtful and positive context (or humorous at just the right moment -- one of his uncanny strengths)."

Dr. Benjamin Lewis truly made an impact on all of us while at Hamline, and that impact has lasted a lifetime. Thanks "Doc" for everything. "We love you."

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