The architect of one of the nation's top defenses at New Mexico, Osia Lewis (pronounced Oh-say) joined the UTEP staff for the 2008 season.
The Miner defense made strides in its first year under the 3-3-5 scheme. UTEP lowered its total defense, rushing defense and scoring defense numbers from 2007, and also raised its sack total by seven from the previous year. The Miners had one of Conference USA's top linebackers in Adam Vincent, who finished second in the league in tackles with 9.2 per game on his way to earning first team All-League honors. Prior to his first season with the Miners, Lewis coached a team of former college players - including several UTEP standouts - on a tour of Japan.
Lewis coached the Lobos' defensive line from 2003-05, and the linebackers in 2006 and 2007.
New Mexico ranked 13th nationally in total defense in 2007, yielding 319.9 yards per game. The Lobos were also 14th in the country in scoring defense (19.0 ppg), 20th in pass defense (197.4 ypg), 26th in rushing defense (122.5 ypg) and 29th in passing efficiency defense (114.22 rating).
The Lobos finished 9-4 in 2007 and secured their first bowl win since 1961, thumping Nevada 23-0 in the New Mexico Bowl. Not only did the Lobos produce the only shutout in the 32 bowls, but they also ended the Wolf Pack's streak of 329 consecutive games with a score - the longest active streak in college football. The Wolf Pack hadn't been blanked since suffering a 10-0 loss to Weber State on Sept. 27, 1980. Nevada had entered the New Mexico Bowl averaging 36.2 points and 488.9 yards of offense per game before being limited to 210 total yards by the Lobos.
Among Lewis' protégés in 2007 was linebacker Cody Kase, who was chosen to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America Team. Three Lobo defenders earned All-Mountain West Conference honors in 2007 -- end Tyler Donaldson and cornerback DeAndre Wright, who were both named to the first team, and end Michael Tuohy, who was a second team choice. Two members of New Mexico's defensive unit were chosen in the 2009 NFL Draft - safety Glover Quin, who was a fourth round pick by Houston, and Wright, who went to the New York Giants in the sixth round.
Lewis also helped the Lobos to bowl appearances in 2003 (Las Vegas), 2004 (Emerald) and 2006 (New Mexico).
In 2006 lobo/safety Quincy Black - who was recruited by Lewis from Chicago - earned first team All-Mountain West Conference honors and was chosen in the third round of the NFL Draft by Tampa Bay. Donaldson and Wright each garnered second team all-league recognition.
Lewis was selected to participate in the 2005 NCAA Expert Coaching Program in Indianapolis. The program - which was held prior to the Black Coaches Association Convention - is designed to develop new and innovative coaching approaches by helping coaches develop sound talent evaluation and recruiting systems; strengthen their relationship with players; improve their understanding of practice and game-day strategy; and address off-field issues.
New Mexico led the Mountain West Conference in sacks for the fifth year in a row in 2004. The Lobos were also first in the league in rushing defense (108.2 ypg), total defense (323.2 ypg) and scoring defense (18.7 ppg). New Mexico rated 17th nationally in rushing defense, 20th in scoring defense and 25th in total defense. Nose tackle Marcus Parker was appointed first team All-Conference, and Tuohy earned third team Freshman All-America honors by The Sporting News.
In 2003 New Mexico was fifth in the country in rushing defense with a stellar 86.1 ypg average, its lowest figure since stats became official in 1946. The Lobos were 28th in the NCAA in total defense (334.3 ypg). New Mexico also paced the MWC in rushing defense (86.6 ypg), scoring defense (19.7 ppg) and total defense (278.9 ypg) for league games only. Defensive end D.J. Renteria and safety Brandon Ratcliff were chosen first team All-League, while five Lobos (ends Daniel Kegler and Zach Rupp, linebackers Daniel Gawronski and Billy Strother, cornerback Gabriel Fulbright) were picked second team All-MWC.
Lewis joined the Lobos on Jan. 3, 2003 after spending six years on the staff at Illinois. He coached the defensive line from 1997-2000, and the linebackers from 2001-02. Illinois was 10-2 in 2001, won the Big Ten title with a 7-1 mark and faced LSU in the Nokia Sugar Bowl. The Fighting Illini ended the year ranked 12th nationally by the Associated Press.
Illinois middle linebacker Jerry Schumacher earned second team All-Big Ten honors in 2001 and 2002, leading the team in tackles, tackles for losses and sacks both years. He finished second in the Big Ten in 2002 with 122 tackles, including 12 for losses.
In 2000, senior Fred Wakefield became the first Illinois defensive end to capture first team All-Big Ten honors since Simeon Rice and Kevin Hardy in 1995. Wakefield totaled nine sacks and 21 tackles for losses, and his career marks rank in the top-three in the Illinois record book.
Lewis tutored Wakefield and senior defensive end Rameel Connor during the 1999 campaign. The duo combined to produce 12 sacks and 120 tackles, including 26 for losses. In 1998, senior Jeff Weisse broke Simeon Rice's single-game school record with six tackles for losses against Middle Tennessee State. Born in Anchorage, Alaska, Lewis earned his bachelor's degree in Social Science Education from Oregon State in 1986 and his master's in Education from OSU in 1989.
Lewis was a four-year letterman and a standout linebacker at Oregon State from 1982-85. He also played quarterback, safety and wide receiver for the Beavers. As a senior in 1985, he was named the team's Most Inspirational Player, served as team captain and earned All-Pac-10 and honorable mention All-America honors by the Associated Press. Lewis still holds school records for single-season defensive points, season fumble recoveries (four) and career fumble recoveries (eight).
He continued his football career with the Toronto Argonauts of the Canadian Football League and the Chicago Bruisers and New York Firebirds of the Arena Football League. In 1988, he was tabbed All-Arena League and participated in the Arena Bowl.
Lewis was a graduate assistant in the OSU athletic department from 1987-88 before moving to Western Oregon State as an assistant football coach in 1989-90. He joined the Oregon State staff in 1991.
Lewis and his wife, Darlene, have a son, Marvin, and a daughter, Kiana.