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Prep Football: Longtime W&L head coach stepping down from post


Malcolm Lewis is confident Washington & Lee will find a qualified new football coach.

That’s because he’ll help pick his successor.

Lewis announced yesterday that he’s stepping down after 17 seasons as head coach of the Eagles. He’ll retain his duties as athletic director of the Westmoreland County school.

“It’s just a tiring situation,” Lewis said. “Being a head football coach today is very, very time-consuming.

“You might even argue that it’s more time-consuming at the Group A level, because we’re the ones doing everything: the grass-cutting, lining the field. And you’d better be doing all of the off-season stuff. Your players can’t see you missing any of it.”

Lewis, 48, cited the Virginia High School League’s recent easing of out-of-season practice restrictions as “maybe the final straw” in his decision. He also expressed a desire to improve his health and spend more time with his wife, Patricia.

Lewis compiled a 123–58 record, making him the longest-tenured and most successful coach in W&L history.

His 2001 team, led by all-state quarterback Joe Taylor, won the Division 2 state championship. The Eagles also won Region A titles in 2002, ’o4 and ’05—the latter two after Taylor graduated.

“The ’01 team, that was very special,” Lewis said. “To win the state championship was very special and really catapulted our expectations for years to come. We still expect to win on Friday nights.

“But one of my fondest memories was getting to coach with two of my brothers and to coach both of my sons [Landon and Evan]. My wife ran the concession stand, and my mother was the team mother, making brownies for the players. It was a real family affair, and when I get emotional, it’s thinking of those things.”

Lewis played on W&L’s state finalist team in 1979. After attending Randolph–Macon College, he spent eight years as an assistant at Middlesex and one at his alma mater before becoming the Eagles’ head coach.

He said he has already heard from some strong applicants since posting the vacancy on the VHSL’s website earlier this week, and he plans to have a say in choosing his successor. In fact, he hopes to name one by the end of next week.

“It’s not a particularly good time [of year] to get out,” he said. “But I’ve sampled the field, and I’m satisfied we’ll get a really good coach.”

Steve DeShazo: 540/374-5443