The Charlotte 49ers are saddened to announce the passing of Lew Massey, the high-scoring honorable mention all-America who starred for the 49ers basketball team from 1975-78 as the 49ers enjoyed trips to the 1976 NIT Finals and 1977 NCAA Final Four.
"We are deeply saddened by the news about Lew," said 49ers Director of Athletics Judy Rose. "He was not only a great player for the 49ers during the historic runs to the 1976 NIT Finals and 1977 Final Four, but an avid fan . He loved this University and the basketball program in particular. He really enjoyed attending the annual basketball alumni event and reconnecting with his former teammates. One of the 49ers all-time greats, he will be sorely missed but not forgotten."
Massey, the 49ers second all-time leading scorer with 2,149 career points, led the 49ers with a 22.5 scoring average in 1976 as Charlotte reached the NIT Finals with wins over nationally-ranked San Francisco, Oregon and NC State at Madison Square Garden. The 49ers lost to Kentucky in the finals.
In 1977, he averaged 19.6 points, second on the team to all-America Cedric Maxwell, as the 49ers made their historic run to the Final Four, upending #17 Central Michigan, #5 Syracuse and #1 Michigan along the way.
He averaged over 20 points again (21.8) as a senior in 1978 as the 49ers went 20-7 and won the Sun Belt Conference Regular-Season Championship.
Massey averaged double-figures in each of his four seasons and finished his career with a 19.4 scoring average, fourth all-time in school history. He scored in double figures in 103 of his 111 games played, second all-time in school history to all-time leading scorer Henry Williams. He is the 49ers all-time leader in field goals made (916) and ranks tied for ninth all-time in rebounds (740).
The 677 points he scored in 1976 are second only to Maxwell's school record of 690 in 1977. His 22.6 scoring average that year is second to George Jackson's school record of 24.6 points per game in 1975.
He scored a high of 38 points against VCU on Feb. 16, 1978 and had 13 games with 30 or more points.
He was an Honorable Mention AP all-America in 1976 and 1978 and earned first-team all-Sun Belt Conference honors in 1977 and 1978. He was the 49ers team MVP in 1978.