Jan. 13, 2014
The Tewaaraton Foundation has named former Navy lacrosse star and National Lacrosse Hall of Famer James C. "Jimmy" Lewis as the recipient of the fourth annual Tewaaraton Legends Award.
"Jimmy Lewis is a natural selection for the fourth Tewaaraton Legends Award," said Jeff Harvey, Chairman of The Tewaaraton Foundation. “He was an outstanding player during a championship era at Navy and upon graduation he went on to serve his country.”
Lewis began his illustrious career at Uniondale (N.Y.) High School on Long Island where he was a standout attackman from 1960-62. An All-Nassau County pick for three years, he won the Rutgers Cup and the Outstanding Player Award for Long Island lacrosse in his senior year.
In 1966, The Baltimore Sun called Lewis the "greatest living lacrosseman.” Lewis concluded his college career as Navy’s leading scorer and now ranks sixth on Navy's career scoring list with 169 points (78g, 91a). He is one of only four players in program history to score 75 or more goals and dish out 75 or more assists. Lewis led the Midshipmen in scoring and earned first-team All-America honors in each of his three years at Navy (at the time freshman were not permitted to play varsity sports.) He also won the Jack Turnbull Award as the top collegiate attackman in 1964, 1965 and 1966, one of only three players ever to win the award three times. During this stretch, Navy won 22 games in a row (against zero losses) and three straight National Championships at a time when the top team was voted on by the USILA.
While in Annapolis, Lewis also played soccer, though he had never played prior to making the team at Navy. As a junior, he scored the game's only goal in the NCAA Championship Game that gave Navy its first and only soccer title.
At graduation ceremonies in 1966, Lewis was awarded the Sword for Men, presented annually to one midshipman for excellence in athletics. He went on to graduate from TOPGUN, the elite United States Navy Fighter Weapons School and became a fighter pilot, flying F-14s toward the end of the Vietnam War. He spent the next 20 years as a Navy test pilot.
The Tewaaraton Legends Award annually honors one recipient who played college lacrosse prior to 2001, the first year in which the Tewaaraton Award was presented. Recipients are chosen on the basis that their collegiate performance would have earned them a Tewaaraton Award, had the award existed when they played. The previous three Legends Award winners were Syracuse’s Jim Brown (2011), Cornell’s Eamon McEneaney (2012) and Johns Hopkins’ Joe Cowan (2013).
“It is fitting that Jimmy Lewis, one of the best players to have ever played the sport of lacrosse, has been selected as the 2014 recipient of the Tewaaraton Legends Award,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “One of the most decorated players not only in Naval Academy history, but lacrosse history, Jimmy played the game with great intensity and an undeniable expect-to-win attitude. Always a true ambassador of the sport, Jimmy Lewis remains a legend at the Academy and to our midshipmen. All of Navy Lacrosse congratulates him on receiving this prestigious and very deserving tribute."
Lewis will receive the Legends Award during the Tewaaraton Award Ceremony, May 29, 2014, at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of the American Indian in Washington, D.C.
For more information on the Tewaaraton Legends Award or to attend this exciting event, visit tewaaraton.com. Like and follow The Tewaaraton Foundation at facebook.com/tewaaraton and twitter.com/tewaaraton.
About The Tewaaraton Foundation
First presented in 2001, the Tewaaraton Award is recognized as the preeminent lacrosse award, annually honoring the top male and female college lacrosse player in the United States. Endorsed by the Mohawk Nation Council of Elders and U.S. Lacrosse, the Tewaaraton Award symbolizes lacrosse’s centuries-old roots in Native American heritage. The Tewaaraton Foundation ensures the integrity and advances the mission of this award. Each year, the Tewaaraton Award celebrates one of the six tribal nations of the Iroquois Confederacy – the Mohawk, Cayuga, Oneida, Onondaga, Seneca and Tuscarora – and presents two scholarships to students of Native American descent. To learn more about The Tewaaraton Foundation, please visit www.tewaaraton.com.