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Tellez would thereafter remain Lewis' coach for his entire career.
Days after graduating from high school in 1979, Lewis broke the high school long jump record with a leap of 8.13 m (26 ft 8 in).
An old knee injury had flared up again at the end of the high school year, and this might have had consequences on his fitness.
Lewis worked with Tellez and adapted his technique so that he was able to jump without pain, and he went on to win the 1980 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title with a wind-assisted jump of 8.35 m (27 ft 4 Though his focus was on the long jump, he was now starting to emerge as a talent in the sprints.
Lewis owns a marketing and branding company named C. At age 13, Lewis began competing in the long jump, and he emerged as a promising athlete while coached by Andy Dudek and Paul Minore at Willingboro High School in his hometown of Willingboro Township, New Jersey.
Many colleges tried to recruit Lewis, and he chose to enroll at the University of Houston where Tom Tellez was coach.
From 1981 until 1992, Lewis topped the 100 m ranking six times (seven if Ben Johnson's 1987 top ranking is ignored), and ranked no lower than third.His relatively modest best from 1979 (10.67 s) improved to a world-class 10.21 the next year.