Published Dec. 14, 2023
BY CASSIDY SCHEID
Coming off a remarkably successful season at Pacific Grove High School, where he led the team to first place in the Pacific Coast Athletic League’s Mission Division, Robin Lewis has made the switch from the Breakers to the Padres and is ready to bring his passion and knowledge of the sport to coaching the Carmel girls’ basketball team this season.
“It’s something I’ve loved from the first day that I touched the basketball,” Lewis says.
The varsity head coach grew up in Los Angeles with ambition and a talent for basketball from playing on varsity in high school and then making the team at Grambling State University in Louisiana. After tearing his meniscus, unable to play, he began coaching and has since coached for over 30 years on various teams from semi-pro and club to middle and high school.
“His dedication to this sport and our team is incredibly evident to the players,” says junior Chloe LeMaster. “It is clear that he wants us to be the best players that we can be, and it helps to push us to work harder.”
Prior to coaching at CHS, Lewis coached at PGHS for 10 years: Three were as boys’ JV head coach and varsity assistant coach and seven were with girls’ varsity, where he built the team to a total of 82 wins with a winning percentage of .560, leading them to a league title last season. With a small student body of around 520 students, winning at Pacific Grove was a big accomplishment and something the team had not done since 2013.
“You can tell that basketball is really important to him, and he definitely expects a lot from us,” junior Savanna Radowicz says. “And I think that’s a good thing because it encourages us to want to play our best.”
After deciding to come coach at CHS, Lewis got right to work with conditioning, including beach workouts, and tryouts to prepare and build the most successful team possible for this season.
“The girls are extremely hungry, especially the varsity, about playing hard and competing,” Lewis remarks.
For offense, the coach emphasizes the importance of variation. This includes motion offense, which relies on fluid player movement, passing and screening, and zone offense, which focuses on moving strategically around defense and effective passing to create open shots. While the offense is essential, Lewis’ greatest priority is the defense: adapting defensively mid-game and having the ability to play both man and zone.
“Good coaches can always generate offense,” Lewis explains, “but you have to be able to be really solid defensively to be top-level in the county.”
Carmel has been off to a rough start this season after losing their first two games, and the former PGHS Breaker is working to rebuild the team without their top four scorers from the 2022-23 season.
During practice, Lewis maintains the importance of conditioning as well as technical skill, with drills focusing on ball handling, passing, shooting and agility.
“I’m really process driven, with details and fundamentals, and with being in the best condition that you can possibly be in,” Lewis adds.
The athletes say they can already see and feel the supportive atmosphere that Coach Lewis is creating on and off the court.
Junior Bella Tanguay says, “Him putting such a big emphasis on really wanting us to get better is great because it encourages us to want to win and want to try harder and want to get better.”