Forging a Path for Promising Student-Athletes

Forging a Path for Promising Student-Athletes

photo of Dwight LewisIn the summer of 1984, Dwight Lewis packed his bags and took an 18-hour Greyhound bus ride from a balmy San Diego to a scorching, 101-degree Chico. The next morning he was off to “double days”—the infamously grueling preseason athletics training.

“I’ll never forget that!” he says.

Lewis (BA, Psychology, ’88; MA, Social Science, ’96) first visited Chico on a recruiting trip as a high school senior. Football coach Mike Bellotti took Lewis on a campus tour, and he was hooked.

“I loved the creek that ran through the center of campus, and that it was adjacent to downtown,” says Lewis, who also loved how welcome he felt on campus and the University’s psychology program, which he calls “excellent.”

Lewis says playing football at Chico State gave him an in-depth knowledge of college sports. This knowledge now serves him well in his position as associate athletic director at Wake Forest University (WFU) in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, an NCAA Division I school. He supervises men’s and women’s cross-country/track and field, field hockey, women’s tennis, and all teams’ strength and conditioning. He also academically supervises sports medicine, media relations, and student-athlete affairs.

Lewis is also vice chair of the Atlantic Coast Conference track and field committee and the athletics department’s liaison to the counseling center, Office of Multicultural Affairs’ career services, and student life. His current projects include the “Losing to Win Conference,” discussions of race and intercollegiate sports.

Lewis is motivated by watching student-athletes reach their potential, becoming both leaders and national champions. He has worked with athletes such as Chris Paul of the LA Clippers, golfer Cheyenne Woods, and Aaron Curry of the Oakland Raiders.

In addition to playing football at Chico State, Lewis was involved in the Black Student Union, gospel choir, and Block C, now known as Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. He says his Chico experience inspired him to work in higher education.

Lewis credits his success to Chico State and lives by its motto, Today Decides Tomorrow. “These words over the Kendall Hall entrance encouraged me to take risks and dare to live,” he says.

Kristina Richmann, Tehama Group Communications
(adapted from the spring 2011
Building Bridges, the CSU, Chico Office of Diversity and Inclusion newsletter)