Jimmie Lewis: Harlem High School

Jimmie Lewis

Jimmie Lewis continues to rank as one of the state’s all-time winningest coaches, notching his 700th career coaching victory during the 2017 season. When Lewis took over a solid baseball program from former coach Tommy Price, who had resigned to take an administrative position in 1979, Lewis guided Harlem to five state titles in an eight-year span.

He was inducted into the Georgia Dugout Hall of Fame in 2006.

Lewis is as synonymous with Harlem as Oliver Hardy, who teamed with Stan Laurel to form the duo comedy act Laurel and Hardy during the early Classical Hollywood era of American cinema. Hardy was born in Harlem.

The longtime coach grew up in the city. His father was a World War II veteran and former mayor who started the Oliver Hardy festival.

Jimmie Lewis' four sons played baseball under their father.

After graduating from Harlem in 1970 where he played football and baseball, Lewis played college baseball as an outfielder at South Georgia College and Augusta State before returning to Harlem as an assistant in 1977. His college coach was Clyde Miller, also a member of the Georgia Dugout Club Hall of Fame.

Lewis took Harlem to a state title in 1979 when the team won its final 28 games after starting the season 6-7. The Bulldogs won titles in 1981, 1982 and 1983, then added another in 1986. Lewis also has two state runner-up finishes and his teams have won 13 region titles.

One of his most significant victories as a Harlem coach came during the 1990 season when his Bulldogs defeated cross-county rival Evans 5-4, ending the nationally-ranked Knights’ 61-game winning streak. Evans’ streak is still a state record.

“One thing no one can ever say is that I padded my schedule,” Lewis told The Augusta Chronicle. “My philosophy has always been you play the best before you get into region and you should be ready for the region. You get better by playing good teams.”

Lewis was the head football, baseball coach and athletic director for many seasons. He guided the football program for 23 seasons where he compiled a 74-156-2 record before stepping down after the 2014 season.

Some information in this article was used from The Augusta Chronicle.