Ball State holds introductory press conference for Michael Lewis

Michael Lewis was officially announced as the 20th head coach of Ball State men’s basketball at a press conference April 6. Lewis was introduced by President Geoffrey Mearns and Director of Athletics Beth Goetz. 

“I think all of you know he was an outstanding basketball player and when his playing career concluded a few years ago, he at that time had the most career assists in the history of Indiana University basketball,” Mearns said. “Of course, that's relevant because it demonstrates he was an outstanding basketball player but to me what it demonstrates is that he understands the responsibility of leadership. That leadership is about facilitating the success of your teammates, and not necessarily advancing your own success. So his playing career demonstrates his character as a leader.”

Prior to Ball State, Lewis had spent 18 years as a graduate assistant and assistant coach at Texas Tech, Stephen F. Austin, Eastern Illinois, Butler, Nebraska and UCLA, with an overall record of 349-292 with six NCAA Tournament appearances. Lewis played collegiately at Indiana University from 1996 to 2000. 

“Basketball here in Indiana just means more. All of those dreams are wrapped up in Michael Lewis, our new head coach,” Goetz said. “...Michael embodies what basketball means in this state. He embodies the values and commitment of students that define Ball State and he embodies the competitive spirit and passion.”

Lewis played under Naismith Memorial hall-of-fame head coach Bob Knight at Indiana and later coached under Knight at Texas Tech. As an assistant coach, Lewis worked with the likes of Brad Stevens, Chris Holtmann, Tim Miles and Mick Cronin. 

“I've been able to take a great deal of knowledge from all of those men,” Lewis said. “Unbelievable people of character. Great leaders of programs that have all had success at a high level. And so I'm very comfortable in my own skin and very comfortable in who I am, and I can take parts of all of those men and kind of be who I am and put it into how I want to coach and how I want to lead the program.”

As head coach, Lewis said he wanted to impact the lives of his players and win championships. 

“I'm here to win championships,” Lewis said. “I'm not coming back to this state to lose. Like I said, it’s personal for me. I like what we have in our locker room right now. I'm confident in what we can add to this locker room. I'm very confident in how we can go out and perform on the floor.”

Contract details

Lewis signed a six-year contract through March 31, 2028, or the day after the final Ball State Men’s Basketball game of the 2027-28 season. Lewis will earn a base salary of $335,000 and could receive incentives based on meeting specific bonuses listed within the contract. 

Former head coach James Whitford’s base salary was $336,083, while Ball State’s Football head coach Mike Neu earns an annual base salary of $453,000. 

If Lewis’ contract is terminated without cause on or before March 31, 2023 his buyout would be $2.8 million. If Lewis’s contract is terminated without cause on or between April 1, 2024 to March 31, 2025 his buyout would be $1.4 million. 

If Lewis resigns before or on March 31, 2023, he would be required to pay $1.5 million to Ball State University. If Lewis resigns on or between April 1, 2025 to March 31, 2026 he would be required to pay $700,000. 

Lewis receives a telephone allowance of $110 each month for expenses incurred while using his personal mobile or landline telephone to perform coaching responsibilities. The university will reimburse Lewis up to $25,000 for moving expenses. Lewis is also required to operate Ball State’s summer boys’ basketball camp as a university employee and his compensation will be determined by the profitability of the camp. 

Contact with comments or on Twitter @dn_sports.


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