Last Thursday, Grambling High School introduced a new wing in the school called the Lyon’s Den. This place is named in honor of longtime GHS boys’ and girls’ basketball coach Michael Lyons, who will retire at the conclusion of the season. For almost 30 years, Lyons has put his stamp on the Grambling Kittens’ program, making it one of the best in the state.
When he was a teenager, Lyons’ mother said that he would be a coach, and her prediction proved to be correct. After graduating from Grambling State University in 1973, he started coaching in a church basketball league, until he got the break that would change his life forever.
In 1979, through legendary Coach Leon Barmore, Grambling High hired Lyons to coach boys basketball and baseball. But he wanted to switch and coach girls’ basketball because this move would give him control of the entire basketball program.
Coach Lyons took over a girls’ basketball team that had not been successful the past couple of years. However, in his second season he guided the Lady Kitten’s to a state championship. That game was one of Lyon’s 12 appearances in state championships games during his tenure.
Lyons will walk the sidelines for the last time this season, but he leaves behind shoes that will be hard to fill. He has complied an astonishing 1,170-198 total record (737-100 record with the boys’ basketball from 1979 to the present and a 434-98 record with girls’ basketball from 1979-1999) six state championships, 40 district championships and an impressive 41 “Coach of the Year” awards.
Lyons has 47 players playing college basketball around the country today. He also has two players playing in the NBA, one of his well known players is Utah Jazz Power Forward Paul Millsap, who led the nation in rebounding his freshmen, sophomore and junior seasons at Louisiana Tech.
As Coach Lyons is about to close the book on a long and successful coaching career he reflects on the long journey.
“I feel very gratified,” Lyons said. “Coming to work has never been a job for me. It has been very enjoyable.”
Coach Lyons will be missed not only as a man who has turned Grambling High into a basketball powerhouse, but as a man who is a great teacher, motivator and person.
“Today we give honor where honor is due,” said Coach Michael Jiles, head track and field coach.