Clifton “Gator” Lewis

Class of


Clifton “Gator” Lewis grew up in Newark, Delaware where his brothers and cousins mentored him in football, basketball and baseball. Those lessons paid early dividends for Lewis at Howard High
School. He excelled in athletics, earning eight varsity letters in four sports. Lewis quarterbacked the Wildcats to an unbeaten football season in 1946. In 1947, Cliff’s senior year, Howard gridders
lost only two games by a total of four points while playing one of the toughest schedules among state schoolboy teams. Lewis finished fifth in the state football scoring standings that year and
served as captain. In baseball, Lewis was a pitcher and became the first African-American to play American Legion baseball in Delaware. Cliff attended Tennessee State University for one year before
transferring to Maryland Eastern Shore, where he quarterbacked the football team and played baseball. Lewis returned to Wilmington after earning his degree and served as an assistant and head
football coach at Howard High for 20 years. He also coached basketball and track at Bancroft Junior High School. In that position, Lewis developed many of Delaware’s outstanding track and field
performers of the 1950’s and 1960’s. After retiring from coaching, Lewis became a high school administrator. He is highly respected by athletes and students in Delaware and the region as a strong
advocate of discipline and sportsmanship. Wilmington City Council honored Lewis by naming a municipal park for him, and officially recognized his many contributions to athletics and education with a
proclamation in October, 2004.



Every inductee into the Delaware Sports Hall of Fame since our inaugural year in 1976 is represented on our website. Honoring the athletic excellence of these men and women is an integral part of Delaware sports history.


From our annual Delaware Sports Hall of Fame induction gala in May, celebrations of Black History Month and Women in Sports Month, as well as individual sports highlights, there is something for every sports fan.


A visit to the museum will take you back over 100 years of sports in Delaware, from the Lenni Lenape Indians right up to today. Experience memorabilia, artifacts, and the stories of Delaware legends.


Memberships to the Delaware Sports Museum & Hall of Fame can be purchased throughout the year. Come join our First State Family and have the opportunity to select our next induction class, receive free group tours of the museum, host an event for your family, friends, and business associates, receive our quarterly newsletter, and more!