FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — University of Arkansas Executive Associate Athletic Director and Associate Vice Chancellor Bev Lewis was named to the ArkansasBusiness.com’s “Women of Influence” the website announced recently.
The on-line feature recognized 20 women whose contributions are noteworthy. The women were selected by the Arkansas Business editorial staff and “were based on our familiarity with them and with their spheres of influence.”
“We are pleased that Bev Lewis has been recognized for her long-time contributions to the Razorback program and intercollegiate athletics,” Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics Jeff Long said. “Her influence and leadership has been instrumental in the success of developing strong women’s athletics programs at the University of Arkansas. Her support was vital to the successful combining of our athletic programs. Bev continues to play an integral role as an administrator in helping provide more than 460 student-athletes with the opportunities to compete and succeed in the classroom as well as in their respective sports.”
For almost two decades, Lewis has been synonymous with the University of Arkansas and Razorback sports teams. In her current role, Lewis is the coordinator of a five-member sport administrator group that provides day-to-day administrative support for each of Arkansas’ 19 sports. Lewis is the sport administrator for women’s basketball, men’s and women’s cross country, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s golf, gymnastics, softball and volleyball. In addition, Lewis is the primary administrator working with the Razorbacks’ media relations, new media, strength and conditioning units and athletic training and sports medicine program. She also serves as a liaison to the faculty senate and the faculty athletic committee, and coordinates the department’s NCAA certification, Title IX compliance and strategic planning.
Lewis began her Razorback career as the women’s cross country and track and field coach leading her teams to six top 20 national finishes. She coached Team USA at the 1990 World Junior Cross Country Championships. Her Arkansas coaching milestones were numerous. Under her direction, cross country achieved three notable Razorback firsts. On Oct. 4, 1984, her cross country team became the first women’s squad to achieve a national ranking. Arkansas finished that season ranked 16th.
She added the first top 10 finish to her resume in 1986 as cross country finished 10th at the NCAA Championships and backed it up with a ninth-place finish in 1987. Her coaching was instrumental in establishing Arkansas’ perfect record of sending a team or individual to every collegiate national meet since the program’s inception.
Lewis also coached Arkansas’ first conference championship team at the 1988 Southwest Conference Cross Country Championships. As a result, her peers voted her SWC Coach of the Year for the second year in a row. She also was named SWC Outdoor Track Coach of the Year in 1989.
Lewis transitioned into administration serving as the Director of Athletics for the separate Razorback Women’s Athletics programs until the departments unified in 2008.
During her time with the former women’s program, Lewis increased athletic participation at Arkansas for women, by orchestrating the addition of four sports at the University during her tenure. Not only providing scholarship opportunities, each new sport — volleyball, golf, softball and gymnastics — reached its respective NCAA championship by each inaugural recruiting class’ senior season.
Her leadership was also a part of the success of the University’s Campaign for the Twenty-First Century. Lewis directed Women’s Athletics to over $11.5 million in direct support for the Lady Razorbacks including gifts for facilities like the Huntley Gymnastics Training Facility and Sutton Strength and Conditioning Center as well as more than tripling the number of named and endowed scholarships for female student-athletes.
Lewis is also a leader in the community, assisting several local and regional associations in fund-raising efforts. Her most recent appointment was to serve as the honorary chair of the Northwest Arkansas 2007 Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation Walk for the Cure. She is also a member of the Northwest Arkansas American Heart Association board of directors.
In 1998, she was voted into the University of Arkansas Hall of Honor by the University’s letterwinners in recognition of her contributions to the Women’s Athletics Department both as a coach and an administrator.
Lewis served collegiate athletics at the highest level as an administrator, first with the NCAA Championship Cabinet and most recently on the NCAA Management Council. A former member of the track and field committee and its outdoor chair, she also served on the NCAA soccer committee. Lewis also served a term on the Southeastern Conference Executive Committee from 1992 to 1995.
Lewis earned her bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan in 1979 and followed it with her master’s from Purdue prior to her arrival at Arkansas in 1981.