MONTCLAIR, NJ - Hundreds gathered at the Montclair football home game on Saturday for a ceremony dedicating the Aubrey Lewis Sports Complex.
Located at 28 Essex Ave, the ceremony took place before the football kickoff against Bloomfield. Montclair Public School officials and local leaders were on hand along with friends and family members, to rename the athletic fields and facilities the Aubrey Lewis Sports Complex, which is comprised of Fortunato Field, Woodman Field, Furlong Field House, and other structures yet to be constructed in the area.
Lewis graduated in 1954 from Montclair High School and his legacy has become a part of Montclair's proud history. During his high school career, Lewis led the way to two state football championships, scoring 49 touchdowns and running for over 4,500 rushing yards. He also led Montclair to two consecutive team championships in track and field and one state championship in basketball. According to a release by the school district, he was named the Offensive Player of the Century alongside Paul Robeson who was named the Defensive Player of the Century by the Star-Ledger.
The University of Notre Dame chose Lewis, offering him a scholarship. He decided to attend after chosing from a list of over 200 schools that had offered him scholarships. While at Notre Dame, Lewis played halfback for the Fighting Irish football team alongside Heisman Trophy winner Paul Hornung.
Lewis was then chosen by the Chicago Bears in the tenth round of the 1958 NFL Draft, but an ankle injury prevented him from playing professionally. He went on to be elected as captain of the track team, making him the first African American athlete at Notre Dame to be chosen as a team captain and later became the first African American to join the Board of Trustees at this prestigious university.
In 1962, he was chosen by J. Edgar Hoover to participate as a member of the first Federal Bureau of Investigation agent training program to include African Americans at the FBI Academy in Quantico, Virginia. Lewis had a very successful career in business working for the F.W. Woolworth Corporation now (Foot Locker Inc.) for 37 years as the VP of Corporate Affairs.
Lewis was married to his Montclair High School sweetheart Ann. They had five children: Aubrey Jr., Lauren, Lisa, John and Gary, 13 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild. To read more about Lewis, see his biography and photographs from the family album.