Hall of Fame Class of 2009
Clay Lewis attended Kennewick High School. While at Kennewick, he developed a love for track and field. Clay is recognized as being Washington State’s pioneer Flop style high jumper. Following his graduation from Kennewick, he competed at Columbia Basin College. He was recruited by Eastern Washington University coach Jerry Martin, a 1999 Hall of Fame Inductee. Clay enjoyed great success at all three schools as an athlete. However, his love for the sport really took root when he joined the coaching profession. Clay began his coaching career by coaching the jumpers at Central Valley High School in the Spokane Valley. In that one year at CV, Clay had two high jumpers place at the state meet. Clay moved from Central Valley to Richland High School where he worked as an assistant coach focusing on the jumpers. He spent six years with the Bombers before moving to Richland’s other high school to teach Physical Education. Eventually, he became the head coach at Hanford High School.
While at Hanford, Clay’s teams placed many times at the state championship meet. During his time as head coach, the Falcons had multiple individual state champions. Three of them still stand out today, Dan Colleran jumped 6’ 7” to set a Freshman high jump record that he still holds today. Kurt Kraemer was a five time jump champion who is the only jumper to ever win all three jumps in one year. Adam Tenforde was a Washington State High School All – American who ran for Stanford and competedin the 2004 Olympic Trials. Another well known athlete turned to Clay in 1996. Prosser’s Kelly Blair was in need of assistance with her high jump technique before the 1996 Olympic Trials. She turned to Clay for help. It paid off given her Olympic Trials success and 10th place finish in the 1996 Atlanta Games, none of which Clay takes credit for.
Clay Lewis is a very respected coach by his peers. He is mostly recognized for his expertise in the jumps and has been honored many times by his fellow coaches by being asked to speak at numerous track and field clinics. He has been a proud member of the Washington State Coaches Association and active in helping to bring about events such as the annual Coaches Convention. As a head coach, Clay has mentored many of his assistant coaches on their way to becoming head coaches. He has mentored many of his former athletes on their way to becoming assistant coaches. He is most honored by the fact that five of his former athletes had made up the majority of the coaching staff of his old track team. He has truly earned the respect of coaches around the state.
Clay is now retired and enjoying life. His hobbies include fishing, woodworking, antique tool collecting and working out at his local athletic club. Clay’s wife Kerry, a former teacher, is spending more time with him now than ever before and they are remodeling their house and playing a little tennis, just like they did the first day they met. Clay has two wonderful, grown children. Life is good! His induction into the Track and Field Coaches Hall of Fame is a testament to his numerous contributions to the sport in Washington State.