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WHEN GUY LEWIS SITS DOWN TO dinner in a
restaurant, he tells the waitress, "Look, you can save
yourself a lot of steps. Just bring me a pitcher of
water now, before we get started."
Not all the waitresses follow orders. "Pretty soon,
though, after he's consumed a half-dozen glasses, they
get the message," says his wife Dena..
Lewis is the world's champion water drinker. He
will become water borne Saturday night in the most
celebrated launching since Noah's. There will be 55,-
000 assembled in the Dome when Guy starts drowning his emotions. Expert opinion has it that he will
meet his Water-Lew.
"Guy's a very fidgety individual," explains Dena.
"Drink, drink, drink, it's always the same around the
house, and it's almost always water. He says it helps
calm him, but I don't know."
Howie Lorch does know, because he keeps the head
coach supplied. Beside Guy's feet on the floor, the student manager places two yellow wooden soft drink
cases, containing 48 nine-ounce paper cups. Allowing
for spillage, Lorch carefully fills each cup with seven
ounces of water.
As an athletic Gunga Din, Lorch watches Lewis
consume about 14 cups in the first half. UH players
drink the remainder. In the second half Lorch breaks
out a fresh batch of cups, fills them, and beams approvingly as Guy goes to them about 12 times.
"He's amazingly consistent," says Lorch. "He'll
take a cup before the game starts. Then he'll take
another if we get the opening tip. He'll keep it up at
a steady pace throughout the game. I wish our scorers
averaged 20 points like he averages 20 cups of water.
We'd be in good shape."
Dunk's Absence Calms Lewis
Lorch has been around Lewis for six years now and isn't,
as you might suspect, majoring in student managing. While
collecting a master's degree in physical education, Howie
has kept Lewis supplied with liquids. You might say it has
been the high water mark of his college career.
"I NEVER RUN OUTTA WATER," says Lorch, a pudgy
New Yorker with a yen to please.
"My primary object is to keep the coach happy. By keeping him happy I know I'm doing my job. Sometimes on the
road, though, I have trouble. They give you a funny look
when you tell them what you need, particularly when you
say it's for the coach."
Occasionally a crisis artttes. When the Cougars traveled to
Honolulu for a December tournament, Larch forgot the paper
cups. So he went out and purchased some, and then borrowed
a wooden case in which to place them. Aside from a few
scares like UH 45, North Texas State 43, this has been an
easy season on Lewis' digestive tract.
"I GUESS HE'S AVERAGED ABOUT 20 cups a game, and
that's six or eight below normal," says Lorch. "Maybe it's
because we're winning and have played so few close games.
He's not as anxious as he used to be. Then again, it might be
because they've outlawed the dunk shot. That used to excite
Young Howie allowed himself a grin. "Heck, it excited me
and r don't even coach."
ACowtown Night To Remember
As the manager who covers the water front, Howie is sometimes afloat in one angry sea. He recalls particularly an evening at Lubbock in the 1965 NCAA first round eliminations.
Guy consumed a record 36 cups, and it was that kind of game
—UH 99, Notre Dame 98.
MANY YEARS AGO AT FORT WORTH, in the pre Lorch
era, Lewis paid the price that all heavy drinkers must pay.
He was caught in the rear of the Cougar dressing room,
busily occupying himself, when the student manager assumed
the room was cleared. He locked the door behind him. So
as the second half buzzer sounded the Cougar head coach
pounded furiously on the dressing room door and made the
air blue with his language.
As play was about to begin, the alarmed student manager
noted the empty water cups and sent one of his assistants
to the dressing room to fill them. The greeting which assaulted his ears a moment later was enough to cause a manager to lose his scholarship.
"COACH, IS THAT YOU IN THERE?" he asked ques-
"Hell yes," thundered Lewis. "Get me outta here." At UH,
they never miss the coach until the water runs dry.