By David Elwell
The Decatur Daily

When Wayne Bowling came to Danville in 1963 to be the basketball coach, he lived on campus in a house where a custodian had formerly lived.

“I let all my players know that if they ever wanted to get in the gym to work on their game to just let me know,” Bowling said.

Many a player took up Bowling’s offer over the years. One of those players was Randy Lewis. The hard work paid off for the shooting guard, who close out his high school career as a Class 2A All-State selection in 1973.

“There were so many good players in Morgan County when I played,” Lewis said. “Playing against guys like Ricky Bowling, Gary Winton, ‘Dog’ Sandifer, Boonie Russell and Ricky Stukes kept you motivated to get better.”

The early 1970s was part of a golden era in Morgan County basketball. From 1950-1973, there were 14 state championship teams from seven different schools in Morgan County. From 1969-73, there were four state champions in five seasons.

“The gyms were smaller in those days and every game would be packed,” Lewis said. “Danville fans were really loyal. They followed us everywhere.”

What Danville fans got to see was a high-flying offense that believed in scoring points as quick as possible. That was perfect game for a player the size of Lewis. He was taller than most guards at 6-foot-3. That was a big advantage with his jump shot.

“Coach Bowling believed in letting us run a lot and we did,” Lewis said.

The running game mixed with Lewis’ shooting ability allowed him to rack up some impressive numbers while being a three-time All-Morgan County selection.

According to research done by Lynn Holladay for his book “History, Stats and Stories of Morgan County Basketball 1945-1973,” Lewis scored 1,884 career points. For that time period, it ranks him behind only Robert Whisenant (2,411 points at Ryan) and Gary Winton (2,347 points at Cotaco and Brewer).

Lewis averaged 20 points game over his career. He averaged 26 points and 14 rebounds during his senior season in 1973. He scored 20 or more points in all but two games. In the two games he didn’t top 20, he scored 18. During his career he scored 30 or more points 10 times.

“I had some really great teammates and I can’t say enough about Coach Bowling and what he meant to me,” Lewis said.

Danville’s most successful season was Lewis’ junior year in 1971-72. The team was dominated by a group of seniors led by fellow Hall of Fame inductee Jerry Warren. The Hawks advanced to the finals of the Morgan County Tournament before falling to Austin. Later, they advanced to the regional tournament finals at Lexington only to fall to the home team, 63-62, and miss out on a trip to the state tournament in Tuscaloosa.

“We were a really good team that year,” Lewis said. “It hurt to come so close to winning the county tournament. Then to lose that game to Lexington was really tough. We all felt like we should have won both games.”

Lewis was a senior the next season. The Hawks were not as successful, but Lewis made All-State. He starred in the North-South All-Star game with a 16-point performance.

When the weather turned warm, Lewis moved to the baseball field where he was a shortstop on two Morgan County championship teams.

After graduating, Lewis went to Jacksonville State to play basketball. He played one season before calling it a career.

“I have a lot of great memories,” Lewis said

Scroll to Top