D. D. Lewis was born on October 16, 1945, in Knoxville, Tennessee. He is the youngest of fourteen children. He is named after two great Generals of World War II, Dwight Eisenhower and Douglas MacArthur. He is an alumnus of the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Tennessee Valley, a graduate of Fulton High School and Mississippi State University. Lewis was an outstanding football player in high school, college and the National Football League (NFL).
As a child, Lewis lived behind the Boys Club in Knoxville and attended the Club daily. Lewis was a member of the Club from age six through high school. He still has relationships with several former Club members. Lewis started playing football for the Baby Falcons at Christenberry Field when he was 10 years old. His first coach was Ray Boles. One of Lewis’ fondest memories is tying the Knoxville Raiders, who were the premier team in Knoxville each year, and playing in the Atomic Bowl in Oak Ridge. Lewis was an All-City and All-State football player. Lewis graduated from Fulton High School in 1964. He furthered his education and football career at Mississippi State University.
Lewis started the first fund raising event for the Boys Club with the D.D. Lewis Celebrity Golf Tournament in 1979. Celebrities such as Archie Campbell, John Dotton, Larry Cox, Cas Walker, Big John Tate, Charlie Waters, Ron Widby, Chuck Ramsey, Larry Seivers, Judge Tim Irwin, Pat Ryan, Jimmy Streater, Steve Spurrier, Johnny Majors and Michael Jordan played in the tournament over the years. This event was held for twenty-one years. Then, with his support, the name of the tournament was changed to the Phillip Fulmer Golf Classic.
Collegiate honors for Lewis include: All Southeastern Conference in 1966 and 1967; SEC Defensive Player of the Year in 1967; All-American in 1967. Lewis played in the NFL for the Dallas Cowboys for 14 years (1968-1981). Coach Tom Landry named Lewis as the starting weakside linebacker in 1973, a position he held for nine years until his retirement after the 1981 season. His NFL honors include 12 NFC Divisional Contests, 1 NFC Wild Card Contest, 9 NFC Championship Games, 5 Super Bowl appearances and 2 World Championship victories. Lewis holds the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff record with 27 games played.
Lewis was voted Most Popular Player by the Cowboys fans and given the Bart Starr Meritorious Award in 1981. Tom Landry once said of D.D…. of all of players I coached with the Dallas Cowboys, D.D. Lewis was certainly one of them. In 1987, Lewis was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame. Lewis was inducted into the Boys & Girls Clubs of America Alumni Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2001 and the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2006. In 2012, Lewis was inducted into the Fulton High School Wall of Fame.
D.D. Lewis continues to live with the values he learned at the Boys & Girls Clubs. He often shares his life’s journey with youth groups and has done a number of free speeches for Boys & Girls Clubs across the country. Lewis is retired from the Con Agra Corporation. Lewis is married to Diane Walters. They have two daughters Melna and Victoria and one son Brook Barnes.