The Times West Virginian

Mickey Furfari

January 23, 2013

FURFARI COLUMN: Lewis was popular center for WVU

MORGANTOWN — The Rev. Junius Lewis was one of the most popular men’s basketball players from 1976-79 at West Virginia University.

A native of Richmond, Va., the 6-foot-11, 225-pound center earned letters all four seasons and was a captain of the 1979 team.

Lewis liked Morgantown so much that he decided to settle here with wife Rebecca and became a preacher. Last Sept. 1, he accepted the position of a full-time pastor of the Suncrest United Methodist Church here.

“I thoroughly love my life,” Lewis said. “There is no greater peace than you know in God’s perfect will for your life doing what He’s called you to do.

“And that’s what I’ve been called to do: Share God’s word and share His love.”

Lewis said he enjoyed his years playing basketball at WVU immensely.

“That’s why I decided to stay in West By God Virginia,” he emphasized.

“I’ve been in love with people in Morgantown since I first came to visit here from Richmond.”

Lewis, who played three years for coach Joedy Gardner and one year for coach Gale Catlett, played in a total of 110 games. He was most productive as a junior and senior.

For his four seasons, Lewis made 254 of 544 shots (46.7 percent), 186 of 259 free throws (71.8 percent), and scored 694 points. His scoring average grew to 9.8 points per game in 1978 and to 10.5 in 1979.

Lewis also had 470 rebounds, 54 assists, 36 blocked shots and 14 steals.

Lewis, who’s 55, has been in Morgantown since 1975, except for time spent playing professional basketball in Europe for a year and a half.

“I had a great time over there,” he said. “We traveled a lot for games and played in Belgium, Holland, Italy and the United Kingdom. It was really interesting.”

Junius and wife Rebecca “have three wonderful children,” he noted. “She also is an alumnus of WVU.”

Mrs. Lewis taught school in Monongalia County for seven years and now is working at the Kennedy Center, a correctional institution near Morgantown.

The children are Junele, 26, Junius III, 24, and Jonathan, 17.

Lewis was a teammate of Bob Huggins, the current WVU head coach, in 1976 and ’77.

They have remained close friends since then.

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Mickey Furfari
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