Mack Was One Of County’s Finest
Dunkirk Grad Went On To JCC, Mid-Tenn State
EDITOR’S NOTE: Below is the biography of Lewis G. Mack, one of 11 inductees in the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. Other inductees are George L. Barone Jr., Harry G. Carlson, Andrew J. Creager, Michael A. Sirianni, Christina M. Kebort, Marc T. Tramuta, Randall G. Anderson, Sarah M. (Bogardus) Burnett, Larry E. Rodgers and Richard P. Shearman. These individuals will be formally inducted at a time to be determined. Current New York State COVID-19 restrictions prevent the annual induction banquet on Presidents’ Day in February. The Class of 2021 will be the 40th group inducted into the CSHOF since its inception in 1981. The new honorees will bring the total number of CSHOF inductees to 220. For more information, visit www.chautauquasportshalloffame.org.
When one thinks of Chautauqua County’s finest high school basketball players, who then went on to have outstanding collegiate careers, especially at the NCAA Division I level, the list is relatively short. Lewis G. Mack, an inductee of the Class of 2021 of the Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame, is a member of that elite roster.
Mack was born in 1954 in Virginia and moved with his family to Silver Creek when he was 3 years old. He attended the Silver Creek schools through his junior year when he was named an All-CCIAC Class B performer on the hardwood for the Black Knights.
Chautauqua Sports Hall of Fame coach Mike Tramuta received an “assist” when Mack enrolled at Dunkirk High School for his senior year. Mack, along with teammates such as Jesse Thomas and Dave Szwejbka, compiled a sizzling 20-1 record in 1972-73, earning the CCIAC championship, the Section VI Class A title and a lofty No. 2 ranking in New York state for the Marauders. Mack was known for his smothering defense, highlight-reel passes and amazing leaping ability.
Postseason honors for Mack, included being selected an All-CCIAC First Team All-Star, being chosen to play in the All-Western New York Public vs. Catholic All-Star Game and getting named to the All-New York State Small School Basketball Fourth Team.
Following his 1973 graduation from DHS, the 6-foot-3 Mack was recruited by legendary coach Nick Creola to play at Jamestown Community College. In his first season as a Jayhawk, Mack and his former Dunkirk High teammate, Thomas, led the team to a 26-2 record. In his sophomore year, JCC went 30-4 and won the NJCAA Region 3 championship. Mack became the first JCC player ever named as a First-Team All-Region 3 All-Star.
During his tenure at JCC, Mack rewrote the school’s basketball record book. He set marks for most points in a season, 767; most points in a career, 1,328; most field goals in a season, 299; most field goals in a career, 530; most assists in a season, 294; most assists in a career, 458; most free throws in a season, 169; and most free throws in a career, 268. In addition he was named the Most Valuable Player in four of five tournaments in which JCC participated.
Being listed among the top-50 JUCO players in the nation brought recruiting interest in Mack. He accepted a scholarship from Middle Tennessee State of the Ohio Valley Conference. In his first season at MTSU, Mack broke the Blue Raiders record for assists in a season with 131 as the team went 16-12. The next year, 1976-77, he set a new school assist mark with 144, including 14 in a game against Arkansas-Little Rock, as the team improved to 20-9. He was named the team’s MVP and Male Athlete of the Year at the Murfreesboro, Tennessee institution.
After college, Lewis played for the Harlem Diplomats touring basketball team. Then he returned to Jamestown Community College as an assistant to his former coach, Nick Creola. Mack stayed with Creola and assistant coach Ray Fashano for six years during which the trio took JCC to four appearances in the NJCAA National Tournament during the “glory years” of Jayhawks basketball.
He returned to Middle Tennessee State in 1994 to earn enough credits to complete his college degree.
Lewis G. Mack, nicknamed “Doc” or “Doctor” or “Dr. L” in his playing days, currently resides in Williston, Florida.