Sonny Lewis is in his 15th season as head coach of the Owens women's volleyball program.
This 2014 season a special one for Lewis as the team captured his 500th win at Owens with a straight set win over Lorain County Community College on Oct. 22. The team finished the season 34-11 overall and 12-2 in OCCAC play (2nd Place). He guided the team to the Region XII District E loser's bracket finals before falling to No. 6 Columbus State.
In 2013, the Owens volleyball team finished 22-21 overall and 8-4 in OCCAC play (3rd place). They advanced to the Region XII District E loser's bracket semifinals before losing to St. Clair County in their third match of the day.
In 2012, the Express went 37-11 overall. They captured the program's 13th OCCAC championship with a perfect 12-0 record, the Region XII District E championship and advanced to the NJCAA D-II National Tournament, where they finished fourth in the nation. It was the best finish in program history at the NJCAA D-II level.
This came following a 45-5 season in 2011, where the Express won the OCCAC title with a perfect conference record and finished as the Region XII District E runner-up to Oakland Community College, who went on to finish as the national runner-up. The team set program records for fewest losses and best winning percentage (.900), and their win total was one short of the 46 win single season record set by the 2000 and 2002 teams.
With the team's victory over No. 20 Carl Sandburg College in 2011, Lewis earned his 400th victory at Owens. From 2010-12, Lewis has guided the Express to a 124-25 record overall and a 35-1 record in OCCAC play.
During his first 14 seasons, Lewis has compiled a 504-177 record, including a 162-14 record in the OCCAC that has led to 11 OCCAC championships. He has been named OCCAC Coach of the Year seven times, district coach of the year three times, and his teams have made three trips to the national tournament, including two of the past five years.
While at Owens, Lewis has coached two NJCAA Div. II First Team Athletic All-Americans (Dakia Sellers, 2012 and Ashley Hill, 2004), five NJCAA Div. II Second Team Athletic All-Americans, and four NJCAA Div. II Honorable Mention Athletic All-Americans. He has also coached a two-time All-American twice (Brittany Egbert, 2010-11 and Stephanie Champine, 2006-07). Moreover, Lewis has coached 14 NJCAA Div. II Academic All-Americans entering the 2013-14 season.
In addition to nationally honored student-athletes, Lewis has coached 63 All-OCCAC student-athletes and 10 OCCAC Player of the Year student-athletes, including two-time winners Champine (2006-07) and Egbert (2010-11). At the region level, Lewis has coached 35 All-Region XII players, including Region XII Player of the Year Ceara Barr in 2005, as well as 23 Region XII All-Tournament team selections. Of those 23, two have been named tournament MVP (Egbert in 2010 and Meis in 2012).
Academically, Lewis has coached 53 OCCAC All-Academic team student-athletes.
Lewis has also coached 22 student-athletes who have moved on to four-year schools after their time with the Express. The most recent one was 2012 graduate Molly Hilfinger, who had 951 assists as a senior at NCAA D-II Ursuline College in 2014.
Prior to assuming the head coaching duties at Owens, Lewis served as the head coach at Springfield High School. In 22 seasons, he won 373 matches and seven Northern Lakes League, 15 sectional, six district and two regional championships. Two of his Blue Devil teams played in the state semifinals.
Lewis won numerous coach of the year honors at the high school level, including seven in the NLL and six in District 7. He twice was named Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Association Coach of the Year and was tabbed once as Ohio Coach of the Year by the National Federation Interscholastic Coaches Association.
Lewis is a member of the Ohio High School Volleyball Coaches Hall of Fame and Springfield Hall of Fame. Residing in Toledo, he earned his bachelor's degree in comprehensive social studies from Defiance College in 1970.