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Art Lewis
refer to caption
Lewis pictured in The 1960 Monticola, West Virginia yearbook
No. 23, 11
Position:Offensive tackle,
Personal information
Born:(1911-02-09)February 9, 1911
Pomeroy, Ohio
Died:June 13, 1962(1962-06-13) (aged 51)
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Height:6 ft 3 in (1.91 m)
Weight:226 lb (103 kg)
Career information
High school:Middleport
(Middleport, Ohio)
College:Ohio (1932–1935)
NFL Draft:1936 / Round: 1 / Pick: 9
Career history
As a player:
As a coach:
Career highlights and awards
As a player
As a coach
  • SoCon champion (1953–1956, 1958)
Career NFL statistics
Games played:28
Games started:17
Head coaching record
Postseason:0–1 (.000) (Bowl)
  • 69–55–2 (.556) (college)
  • 4–4 (.500) (NFL)
Player stats at · PFR

Arthur Everett "Pappy" Lewis (February 9, 1911 – June 13, 1962) was an American football player and coach. He played college football as a lineman at Ohio University from 1932 to 1935 and then in the National Football League being a first-round draft choice by the New York Giants in 1936 and the Cleveland Rams from 1938 to 1939. Lewis also served as the interim head coach for the Rams for the last eight games of the 1938 season becoming the youngest head coach in NFL history. He was the head football coach at Washington and Lee University from 1946 to 1948 and at West Virginia University from 1950 to 1959, compiling a career college football record of 69–55–2. At West Virginia, Lewis led the Mountaineers to five Southern Conference titles and an appearance in the 1954 Sugar Bowl.

Early life and college career

Born February 18, 1911, in Pomeroy, Ohio, Lewis was a standout tackle at Middleport High School in Middleport, Ohio. At the age of 21, he enrolled at Ohio University, where he played tackle from 1932 to 1935 and earned All-American honors his senior year. He capped off his college football career appearing in the 1935 East-West Shrine Game. It was in college that he got his nickname "Pappy".

Professional career

Lewis was drafted by the New York Giants in the first round (ninth overall) of the 1936 NFL Draft. After playing one year, Lewis left to coach at Ohio Wesleyan University but left a year later to join the Cleveland Rams as an assistant coach/player. He became the interim head coach mid season. This made him the youngest head coach in NFL history at the age of 27. He coached the team to a 4–4 record and stayed with the team as a player for the 1939 season.

Collegiate coaching

Art Lewis during his tenure as West Virginia head coach
Art Lewis during his tenure as West Virginia head coach

After serving in the United States Navy during World War II, Lewis became the head coach of Washington and Lee University. Here he found his talent as a recruiter but his overall record was 11–17. He coached one year as an assistant at Mississippi State University and then was appointed the head coach at West Virginia University. His first couple seasons were rather lackluster but the team turned around during the 1952 season going 7–2 and finishing second in conference play. The 1953 season was his greatest season at West Virginia. The team went 8–1 in the regular season, captured the Southern Conference title and started a three-year winning streak against arch-rival Penn State. The tenth ranked Mountaineers then journeyed to the Sugar Bowl to face eighth ranked Georgia Tech where they lost 42–19. Under Lewis, the Mountaineers continued to dominate the Southern Conference winning the conference title four more times. Much of his success as a coach was credited to his recruiting abilities. He was able to attract such players as Sam Huff, Chuck Howley, Joe Marconi and others. The 1958 and 1959 seasons saw a major drop off and Lewis resigned as head coach.

Later life

After leaving West Virginia, Lewis accepted a position with the Pittsburgh Steelers as a talent scout and stayed with them until his death. Lewis died of a heart attack on June 13, 1962, at the age of 51. He is considered one of the greatest coaches in West Virginia history and was inducted into the West Virginia Sports Hall of Fame in 1966. He has ten great grandchildren, Caroline, Grace, and young Michael, Drew, Taylor, Sydney, Rissa, Molly, Casey and Tessa.

Head coaching record


Team Year Regular Season Post Season
Won Lost Ties Win % Finish Won Lost Win % Result
CLE 1938 4 4 0 .500 4th in NFL Western
CLE Total 4 4 0 .500
NFL Total[1] 4 4 0 .500
Total 4 4 0 .500


Year Team Overall Conference Standing Bowl/playoffs Coaches# AP°
Washington and Lee Generals (Southern Conference) (1946–1948)
1946 Washington and Lee 2–6 1–4 T–13th
1947 Washington and Lee 5–5 3–2 5th
1948 Washington and Lee 4–6 2–2 T–8th
Washington and Lee: 11–17 6–8
West Virginia Mountaineers (Southern Conference) (1950–1959)
1950 West Virginia 2–8 1–3 14th
1951 West Virginia 5–5 2–3 9th
1952 West Virginia 7–2 5–1 2nd
1953 West Virginia 8–2 4–0 1st L Sugar 13 10
1954 West Virginia 8–1 3–0 1st 12
1955 West Virginia 8–2 4–0 1st 17 19
1956 West Virginia 6–4 5–0 1st
1957 West Virginia 7–2–1 3–0 2nd
1958 West Virginia 4–5–1 4–0 1st
1959 West Virginia 3–7 2–2 6th
West Virginia: 58–38–2 33–9
Total: 69–55–2
      National championship         Conference title         Conference division title or championship game berth


  1. ^ "Art Lewis Record, Statistics, and Category Ranks –".