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Marvin Lewis Biography

Became Senior Class President, Hired As Assistant Coach, Took Visible Role In Cincinnati


Professional football coach

When he was named head coach of the Cincinnati Bengals on January 14, 2003, Marvin Lewis became the seventh African American to hold the position of head coach in the modern National Football League (NFL). The promise shown by his distinguished career as an assistant coach was fulfilled when he reversed the fortunes of a team that had been a perennial basement dweller in league rankings. Part of Lewis's success as a coach rested on his genuinely inspirational qualities; he was a living example of the power of hard work, and his life was an all-American success story.

Marvin Lewis was born in McDonald, Pennsylvania, in the state's steelmaking region outside Pittsburgh, on September 23, 1958. Lewis remembered that his father, who worked in a steel mill and often spent his days swinging a sledgehammer at iron ore, would come home and rest his sore elbows on pillows. Lewis's mother was a registered nurse and later a nurse practitioner. His family instilled in him a strong work ethic. One uncle became a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper photographer. As a high school student, Lewis worked summers on a garbage truck and spent plenty of time at church as the first youth Sunday school superintendent in the history of the First Baptist Church.

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