Leo Lewis, Jr. named to the
Black College Football Hall of Fame class of 2018
The Lewis Sports Foundation is proud to announce the selection of Leo Lewis, Jr. to the Black College Football Hall of Fame! The father of retired Minnesota Viking Leo Lewis III received the honor posthumously by the Black College Football Hall of Fame Committee and is to be inducted by the organization on February 10, 2018. Leo Lewis Jr. died in 2013. Leo Lewis III will represent the family to receive the honor for his father. For more information about the induction ceremony, go to the Black College Football Hall of Fame.
Leo was an All-American running back at Lincoln University (MO) from 1951-1954. He started every game and led the Blue Tigers to undefeated seasons in 1952 and 1953. He is still Lincoln’s all-time career leader in rushing yards and touchdowns. Nicknamed the “Minnesota Express” at Lincoln, national recognitions included being named as an Associated Press All-American, Pittsburgh Courier All-American, Phillip Morris All-American and as a member of the Mid-West Athletic Association First Team.
Leo was selected by the Baltimore Colts in the 1955 NFL Draft but elected to play in the Canadian Football League. He played his entire career for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers from 1955-1966 and was a six-time All-Pro selection. He was fortunate to also play in six Grey Cup championship games. He and legendary NFL head coach Bud Grant were teammates at Winnipeg before Grant became the head coach for the Bombers. Leo is a member of the Canadian Football Hall of Fame (1973) and the College Football Hall of Fame (2005). Leo’s legendary nickname during his pro career was “Lincoln Locomotive” and is appropriate for his current induction as a college performer.
Additional enshrined honors include the:
Winnipeg Hall of Fame inaugural class (1984)
Lincoln University National Alumni Hall of Fame (2001)
Manitoba Sports Hall of Fame and Museum (2005)
Lincoln University Athletic Hall of Fame (2008)
Winnipeg Blue Bombers Ring of Honor (2016)
Lewis returned to Lincoln after his playing career from 1968-2000, serving in various capacities including Assistant Football Coach, Head Football Coach, Head Golf Coach, Head Women’s Basketball Coach, Interim Athletic Director and National Youth Sports Program Administrator.
Leo Lewis, Jr. grew up in St. Paul, Minnesota. He went to Marshall High School where he was an all-city athlete in three sports. He also played semi-pro baseball then followed his mentor and legendary coach Dwight Reed to Lincoln in 1951. Reed was one of the few African American athletes to play at the University of Minnesota in the 1930’s. His teammate, Bud Wilkinson, also became a legendary coach at the University of Oklahoma. Both Reed and Wilkinson played on the Gophers 1935 and 1936 national football champion teams.
Black College Football Hall of Fame
Black College Football began in 1892 when segregation was well established and heavily managed by Jim Crow Laws. Prior to 1965, a significant majority of black athletes attended and played at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s). The Black College Football Hall of Fame preserves the history and honors the greatest players, coaches and contributors from HBCU’s.
Leo Lewis Memorial Practitioner Award
The Lewis Sports Foundation sponsors the Leo Lewis Memorial Practitioner Award to deserving coaches and administrators. For more information, click here