Montgomery County’s own Barry Lewis (right) is pictured with his wife Sherry (left) and Paul Condry (center) at the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Hall of Fame induction ceremony.
There aren’t many higher honors that a sportswriter or sports broadcaster in the state of Indiana can receive than to be inducted into the state’s Hall of Fame.
For Barry Lewis, a lifetime of dedication to not just Montgomery County sports but to every stop he’s been along the way was recognized as he was officially inducted into the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association’s Hall of Fame earlier this month.
Lewis, who is known as Montgomery County’s sports historian, has spent 40 years of his career perfecting his craft at the Journal Review and with The Paper of Montgomery County, as well as other stops in Seymour, Greencastle, Warsaw and St. Mary’s in Ohio.
“I was really humbled when I got the news,” Lewis said. “Paul Condry, who has been a great friend of mine for many years, called me and told me that I’d be in this year’s induction class. I’m not sure it’s still completely sunk in with me just yet. There are only six people each year that get inducted and for me to be one of those six was just a very humbling and rewarding experience.”
The class of 2022 also includes Dave Calabro, Eric Hansen, David Woods, Rob Weaver and the late Jeff Jeffers.
“It really is a who’s who of sports guys in the state of Indiana,” Lewis said. “I’ve been fortunate to be here in West Central Indiana, then also up north and even down south, so there were a lot of people there that I’ve rubbed elbows with in the past. The whole experience was something that I’m truly never going to forget.”
After his writing career came to an end, Lewis could have simply moved into retirement. However, that’s not who he is. Lewis wants to be involved, and it’s not just with sports. He currently works as the code enforcement officer for the City of Crawfordsville, serves as a Waynetown councilman and is a pitching coach for the Southmont softball team.
Southmont softball coach Dan Taylor has been a life-long friend and couldn’t say enough about the honor.
“In whatever he did in the journalism world, he put his absolute best effort into it,” Taylor said. “He is just a tireless worker who has a great knowledge of everything that he covered. Barry wanted to always say something positive about all of the student-athletes that he covered. Those are the sort of things that made him be recognized by his peers, and it’s a well deserved honor for him.”
Condry, who is the president and founder of the Regional Radio Sports Network and the publisher of the Indiana Football Digest, is on the board of directors of the Indiana Sportswriters and Sportscasters Association. He is in charge of calling every inductee and letting them know they have been inducted. As previously mentioned, Condry and Lewis have been good friends for quite some time and he was the one who brought Lewis’s name to the table at their annual meeting last July, and the rest is history.
“Barry has shown great longevity over the course of his career and has been great wherever he’s gone and done the right things for the right reasons,” Condry said. “He was on my staff for the ‘Indiana Football Digest’ so I knew that his attention to detail and professionalism is off the charts. It was pretty easy for me to mention his name to the rest of the board, and he fit the bill perfectly, and the rest of the board thought so as well.”
When it was officially announced by Greg Rakestraw on Jan. 20 that Lewis would be inducted into the Hall of Fame, he received a lot of support and his efforts over his career were put on full display.
Lewis also is a member of the Southmont Athletics Hall of Fame and has continued to be an example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication to their craft.
“The outpouring of support that I received from everyone after the induction was incredible,” Lewis said. “Some people I haven’t crossed paths with for several years, but whether it was a former coach or a colleague, the fact that so many people reached out meant a lot. I even had a former employee in John Groth extend his stay in Indianapolis just to attend the ceremony and I didn’t know he was coming. It’s kind of a longevity award and the reason I stuck around for so long was because of all the athletes, coaches, and athletic directors that helped me in my 40-plus years.”
The love of sports was ingrained into Lewis at a young age. He recalls from the moment he could walk, he and his dad would be out in the yard playing with whatever bat or ball they could get their hands on.
“Sports just gave me something to do and my dad always made time to play sports with me,” Lewis said. “Then after high school if you’re not the elite of the elite your playing days are done, so I just wanted to stay close to sports.
“Gail Hamilton took a chance on me in 1984 and it was a rough start, but I thought I owed it to her and the subscribers of all the newspapers that I worked at.”
Lewis said there are many people to thank for what’s his fantastic career.
“This wouldn’t be possible without your co-workers and the one person who really transcended it all was Jeff Nelson. Without all of the help of the coaches and athletic directors this wouldn’t be possible. You can only be as good as the information that you get and can’t succeed without great people helping you along the way.”
Lewis has made his mark here in Montgomery County and has been handsomely rewarded as such. You can still catch him at the city building or at a Southmont softball game in the dugout. Regardless of where you might find him, he will always have a story to tell.