Ernie “Pop” Lewis, 51, passed away Wednesday at home with his family in Philadelphia. The former Friars legend was a critical part of Providence’s magical run to the Final Four in 1987.
Lewis averaged 11.8 points per game and 4.2 rebounds during the 1986-87 season and was co-captain of the Friars team that lost to Syracuse in the Final Four game, completing a stellar 25-9 record for the season.
As the 1986-87 season was the first to incorporate the 3-point shot into the College game, Lewis instantly became one of the first three-point sharpshooters in the country, connecting on 42% in the inaugural three-pointer season.
Perhaps most famously, “Pop” drained a game-winning three from the corner in a game against Georgetown in the final seconds to knock off the nationally-ranked Hoya powerhouse. That shot remains one of the most memorable and historic in the history of Friars basketball.
— PC Men’s Basketball (@PCFriarsmbb) January 11, 2018
From all accounts of people recounting “Pop,” he was an even better person than he was a basketball player. The soft-spoken guy who you would never know was a star basketball player when you saw him around campus and just an all-around great guy in every way.
Here are some nice words from around Twitter and other places about the Providence star.
“Pop had a kind soul. Everybody loved Pop.” – Former Friars teammate Harold Starks
Ernie “Pop” Lewis, former Providence College Player was a Winner, 3 Point Knock Down Shooter and a People Magnet. I had the privilege to coach him w/ the Friars. His Teammates loved him, Final Four 1987.”Forever Hoopin,” R.I.P.
— Gordon Chiesa (@gchiesaohmy) January 11, 2018
Rest In Peace Ernie “Pop” Lewis…#friarfamily
— Doris Burke (@heydb) January 11, 2018
Prayers go out to the family of Pop Lewis. Always hurts to lose a member of Friar family.
— Ed Cooley (@CoachCooleyPC) January 12, 2018
Pop Lewis made many Friar fans for life with his memorable shot. Blessed to have spent a lot of time with him at the 20th Anniversary of the 1987 Final Four Team. A wonderful, soft spoken person. Gone too soon. RIP #gofriars
— Steven Napolillo (@nap16) January 11, 2018
Extremely sadden by the death of “Pop” Lewis. Prayers and condolences to his family. RIP Pop https://t.co/Ci3kUmKtha
— Stu Jackson (@StuJackson32) January 11, 2018
R.I.P. Pop. Once A Friar, Always A Friar.