FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – Michael Lewis is back home again in Indiana, and the new Ball State men’s basketball coach is going full steam ahead in his goal is to return the Cardinals to glory.

Lewis was in Fort Wayne on Thursday for the the Northeast Indiana Alumni Association of Ball State’s annual Scholarship Golf Outing and Dinner at Chestnut Hills.

A Jasper native, Lewis played college basketball at Indiana University under Bob Knight from 1996-2000. An All-Big Ten third team selection as a senior, the former Hoosiers point guard still holds the record at IU for most assists in a game (15) and is second all-time in program history with 545 assists, trailing only Yogi Ferrell’s total of 633.

After a brief pro career as a player, Lewis began his coaching career as a graduate assistant under Bob Knight at Texas Tech from 2002-04. He worked as an assistant at Stephen F. Austin, Eastern Illinois, Butler, Nebraska, and most recently UCLA before being named the new head coach at Ball State on March 25.

Lewis inherits a program that former coach James Whitford led for nine seasons, including posting an overall record of 14-17 last year. While Ball State won three MAC West titles under Whitford, the program has not played in the NCAA Tournament since 2000.

Like most college head coaches, Lewis is dealing with having to navigate the NCAA transfer portal. Blackford High School standout Luke Brown recently transferred from Ball State to Stetson University, while Tyler Cochran (Toledo) and Miryne Thomas (Kent State) transferred to other MAC programs.

However, Ball State has added Jarron Coleman (Missouri) and Thomas Allen (N.C. State) from the portal, while Peyton Sparks and Jaylin Sellers announced they would return to Muncie after putting their names in the transfer portal back in March. Sparks, a 6-foot-9 forward, averaged 13.5 points and 8.5 rebounds last season as a freshman while Sellers, a 6-foot-5 wing, averaged 8.0 points and 1.6 rebounds. Sparks was named the MAC Freshman of the Year while Sellers was on the MAC All-Freshman Team.

Allen, a 6-foot-1 guard, averaged 7.4 points per game last season for the Wolfpack, playing in 17 games before his season was cut short by injury. Coleman is actually in his second stint with the Cardinals, having played in Muncie from 2018-21. After redshirting his first year on campus, he was tabbed the MAC Freshman of the Year in 2020. The 6-foot-5 guard played last season at Mizzou, making 21 starts in 31 games. He led Missouri at 2.8 assists per game while averaging 8.6 points. He will have two years of eligibility remaining for the Cardinals.