Lewis will begin his ninth season at the helm of his alma mater with home games Oct. 30 versus Oakwood University and Nov. 3 against Martin Methodist. The Phoenix will play at Oakwood and Freed-Hardeman the next week and travel to Talladega College on Nov. 18 before taking part in the Jackson Rotary Classic on Nov. 24-25. Last year’s field for the Rotary Classic included all but one team that had played in the previous year’s NAIA Championships.
Cumberland will return home Nov. 28 to face Hiwassee College and will play host to the Rosa Stokes Classic on Dec. 1-2. An exhibition game at Tennessee Tech on Dec. 7 precedes four more home contests during the remainder of December, including outings versus Indiana University-Southeast (Dec. 9), Talladega College (Dec. 11), Huntington University (Dec. 16) and Mobile (Dec. 31).
CU will also visit Stillman College on Dec. 14 and play host to the Tigers to begin the new year on Jan. 4.
All 14 Mid-South Conference games take place in January and February this season beginning Jan. 6 at Lindsey Wilson. Cumberland plays four of its first six league contests on the road, including visits to Pikeville, Shawnee State and Georgetown College in the month of January. The University of the Cumberlands (Jan. 18) and Life University (Jan. 20) will visit the Dallas Floyd Recreation Center during the month as well, as will Campbellsville on Jan. 27.
The schedule reverses starting Feb. 1 with a home game against Lindsey Wilson followed by home outings versus Shawnee State and Pikeville. Senior Day takes place Feb. 24 against Georgetown College and the 2018 Mid-South Conference Championships will take place March 1-4 in Pikeville, Ky. The 38th annual NAIA Championships are scheduled for March 15-21 in Billings, Mont.
“We wanted to challenge ourselves during the pre-conference season,” Lewis said. “We play seven games against national tournament teams before league play. It really helps prepare our team for the depth of our league, how good the teams are and how well they are coached. It does not do our team any good to play a bunch of cupcakes.”