Background information about your playing days:
Rupert Lewis was named the head coach for Saint Joseph's College in 2005 having returned to coaching field hockey after a 10 year leave of absence. A graduate of Southern Maine, Coach Lewis is a very accomplished soccer and field hockey player who represented his native island of Jamaica nationally in both sports.
During his senior year, Coach Lewis played and coached his high school field hockey team through a winning season at Cornwall College High School in Montego Bay, Jamaica. Coach Lewis left Montego Bay, Jamaica in 1979 to attend the University of Southern Maine, where he was on top of his soccer career. Coach Lewis was ranked nationally as the third leading goal scorer in the National Premier Soccer League when he left for college in 1979. He continued to have a distinguished and winning soccer resume at USM where his accomplishments are still found in the USM record books. He remains as one of the program's career leading goal scorers and, while there, received All District 5, All State and All WMAC honors.
After college, Coach Lewis played for Acropolis, a semi professional soccer team from Haverhill, Massachusetts. He was named to the All Massachusetts Select Travel squad during his two years of playing with Acropolis.
When did you realize that you wanted to be a coach?
When I won my first Division II Soccer Championship as a player and coach for my community soccer team, Bogue Heights United. This was a huge accomplishment for me, as I was being recognized by my peers as a standout player. Over time it became very apparent to me that I had the give of coaching as I shared my passion for the game with my teammates. I found it was rewarding to share my knowledge of the sport with young players.
Who is/was your biggest influence as a coach?
My high school varsity soccer coach Ali McNab. He was a national striker who got his leg broken by a defender during a soccer game, but was still feared by every goalkeeper he played against. He was the first coach who showed me that if you could demo anything on the field you won your players over. They would become believers in what you coached.
He would demo free kicks or corner kicks with such precision that we all wanted to shoot like Ali. His work ethic and passion for the game was second to none. It was my greatest challenge to mark or defend him when we played or scrimmaged against each other. I learned so much about the game and how to score goals from coach McNab that I will forever be in debt to him.
What is your most memorable moment as a player?
It is very difficult to pick just one moment as a player because I played in numerous games, many of which had a profound impact on my career in different ways. However, I can share a special collegiate playoff highlight that I still talk about today. This was an NAIA semi final playoff game versus University of Maine-Farmington on the Gorham campus. We were awarded a direct free kick with 8 seconds to go in regulation time. All week, I was given the assignment and task by Coach Bowman to perfect my direct free kicks outside the 18 yard box. I scored many goals during that week practicing my shot from outside the 18 yard box.
Who would have predicted us being awarded a direct free kick from the spot I practiced in all week? The score was tied and my goal would send us to the finals. I stepped up to the spot placed the ball 10 yards away from the wall with the clocking down from 8 seconds. I ran up to the ball striking a bent shot around the motionless wall, passing the outstretched hands of the goal keeper. The ball landed in the upper left-hand corner of the net with two seconds to go. Game won.....see ya!
As a coach?
One of the most memorable moments for me as a coach was my 2007 Field hockey season. This was a defining year for our field hockey program. I finally saw my team exude the confidence to become contenders by splitting game results with our NAC rivals Husson University and University of Maine Farmington. Beating U Maine Farmington late in the season with a 1 nil victory at home October 24th was the best wish a coach could request. I knew then we would become a formidable opponent for future seasons to come.
What is your funniest or most embarrassing moment as a coach?
Wiping out in front of my field hockey squad during practice on a wet field and ending up on my butt. It was a laugh for the ladies on the field hockey squad.
Food: Jamaican Jerk Chicken
Pro sports team: Dallas Cowboys
Pro athlete and why?
Pele. He was very humble and approachable.
Most famous person you've met:
Pele.....the greatest soccer player to ever play the game.
If you could meet one person, living or dead, who would it be and why?
Marcus Garvey. His dedication to the freedom of slaves and betterment of mankind is such an inspiration.
Tell us something about yourself that most people don't know:
In my teenage years I use to free dive 25-plus feet and spear fish as a hobby.
Hobbies away from your sport:
My culinary skills. I love cooking and enjoy the challenge of making a meal that will introduce my island cuisines to other nationalities. I once catered an anniversary party for 250 people in Falmouth, Maine.
What you look for in a player when recruiting:
I look for student athletes with good character - discipline, motivation (competitor), team work and dedication along with a solid background in technical and academic skills.
What do you do in the off-season?
Start getting ready for the next season. This means recruiting, networking with other coaches and trying to find the next playmaker while balancing time with my family.
What does it mean for you and your team to be in a conference?
For Women's Lacrosse: This means having the opportunity to get an automatic bid for the NCAA tournaments. We are one team shy of the AQ but I feel with the quality schedule and teams in the GNAC, we will have a competitive and respected conference.
For Field Hockey: Our program finally has an opportunity to go to the NCAA tournament by winning our conference. As an independent, it was difficult to compete with schools who you could beat but did not have the opportunity to play against in playoffs or in a tournament. We are moving in a positive direction and I feel St. Joe's has a bright future and ongoing success as a member of the North Atlantic Conference. It was a huge accomplishment to play in the NAC championship game in our first season in the league. It's nice to have that opportunity to compete against quality programs and go to the NCAA Field Hockey tournament.
What expectations do you have of your team every year?
To be the best team possible with the quality of our student athletes. I hope to produce a better team than the year before, but if my team does its best that's all I can ask. I want to see my players mature on and off the field and become better community members.
Anything else you feel the web site readers should know about you/your program?
I look forward to the continued support from the campus community as we try to strive for excellence within each program.