MPBA names Bennie Lewis as Commissioner
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 3, 2020
By Ed Schumer, Chief Executive Officer MPBA
After graduating from Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville with a degree in education, Mr. Lewis played professional basketball in Australia for 10 years. When he retired he was ranked on the NBL all-time list for scoring, assists, and steals and was honored in Australia’s 50 Greatest Player Club. His many awards included Team MVP, League Runner-Up MVP, and NBL All-Star. Bennie continued his career in Australia as a coach and administrator for men’s and women’s professional teams, youth development programs, and he was the Special Training Coach for the Australian Wheelchair Olympic Team. Bennie was inducted into the Coburg Basketball Association Hall of Fame (Melbourne, Australia) Class of 2018.
After returning to the United States, Mr. Lewis worked for three years as Coordinator of Promotions & Marketing for Athletics at Indiana University – Purdue University, Fort Wayne, IN. He has also served as Assistant Executive Director/Resource Development Director of the Boys and Girls Club of Fort Wayne. During his 17-year tenure with Fort Wayne Parks and Recreation, Mr. Lewis was the lead advisor for the $6 million conversion project turning the McMillen Ice Arena into the McMillen Community Center. Youth teams he coached and mentored there won two AAU national championships and were runners up twice. Many of the youth participants in the programs run by Mr. Lewis have gone on to college, overseas and even NBA careers.
Since 2014 Mr. Lewis has served as Owner/GM of the Fort Wayne Flite of the Central Basketball Association. The Flite achieved 6 Final Four Appearances, advancing to the Finals 5 times, winning 3 Championships. In 2016, Bennie founded Flite Basketball Consulting and serves as the Head Consultant and Adviser. He has worked with NBA Combines, NBA G-League, Jr NBA, Windy City Bulls, Fort Wayne Mad Ants, The Basketball Tournament, and The Basketball League. He also serves on the Basketball Advisory Council for the newly formed Unified Basketball Alliance and is the co-founder and Director of Basketball Operations for the Minor League Challenge.
“I am pleased Bennie has agreed to join the Midwest Professional Basketball Association as our Commissioner and look forward to working with him as we expand the MPBA and offer additional professional opportunities for players to achieve their dreams,” said MPBA CEO, C. Edward “Ed” Schumer. “Bennie’s experience as a player, coach, administrator and team owner makes him the perfect choice to lead our league moving forward. His knowledge of the game, understanding of the space, and commitment to the development of players and coaches pursuing their dreams within the sport is an absolute reflection of the goals we set when we launched the MPBA. We are fortunate to have him join us.” said Schumer.
“I'm excited to take on the challenge of MPBA Commissioner,” said Lewis. “This role allows me to fuse all the different entities of basketball into a combined creation that will help players, coaches, and teams develop for the next level. It will also bring a brand of local entertainment and excitement from players, coaches, and teams through community engagement that families will have the opportunity to enjoy.”
Lewis will be responsible for team development, basketball personnel development, and competitions, and will serve as the MPBA liaison with both the Unified Basketball Alliance and the Minor League Challenge.