In just eight short years, Coach Marc Davidson and his family have become an institution at Blackhawk Christian School. Their kids have attended class and played basketball there. Both Marc and wife Lisa teach there.
Oh, and the school has captured a state championship in boys basketball during that time, with the potential for another coming Saturday against Parke Heritage at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Earlier this week, Outside the Huddle sat down with the Davidson family at their home to discuss basketball, faith, family and Marc’s battle with cancer.
OTH: I look around this room and I see seven kids and two daughters in law. How do you handle a family this large?
MARC: We got married in ’95 and moved to Europe right away as I was playing basketball. There was a lot of free time over there so we started to have babies, five in eight years. They were all boys (Will, Wes, Frankie, Marcus and Jimmy) and all by C-section because they were big. We thought that was it, that we were done at five. Doctors advised us to not have more than five because they hadn’t seen anyone have more via C-section and we didn’t think we needed to break the record. (laughs)
We were actually at a Steven Curtis Chapman concert in Michigan in 2007 and he is really big on adoption. He gave a little presentation talking about it. God stirred something in our hearts to where that was something we wanted to do. We just didn’t know how it would be possible financially. We prayed about it and talked to friends who had adopted from Ethiopia. That really got the ball rolling for us. It went quickly. Got an email about the twins (Jaela and Isaiah) in July, went over there in August and then went back in December and brought em home.
We kid the first five (kids). We say. “You five we had, those two we chose.” And then adding two “daughters-in-love” with Wes and Will getting married over the past year has been tremendous.
OTH: How has been coaching your sons? And conversely, how has it been for them?
Wes: I was always really glad he was the coach. I always felt like he was harder on me than everyone else. I know he just wanted me to be the best I could be. Some of the best memories as a kid were watching my dad play basketball across France in packed gyms.
I got to play with (younger brother) Will for two years in high school at Blackhawk. It was about as fun as it could have been.
Will: I had a lot of coaches over the years. Dad was by far my favorite. He was always teaching us and encouraging us to keep working hard. That character formation you build through sports is something he really taught to me.
Wes: Things my dad really harped on as a coach still ring true in my head. If I am watching a game of basketball and someone doesn’t go to rebound on offense, I can hear my dad get mad.
Marc: I still dream about rebounding. Sometimes they are nightmares.
But Wes was the toughest to coach out of these guys. He is what you call a “gamer.” On game days he was ready. Some days at practice, he just didn’t have the same energy.
Wes: One time we had a walkthrough and he didn’t think I was going hard enough. So he challenged me to a race and he beat me because I was still kind of dogging it. So he kicked me out of practice.
Marc: Oh you were going full speed, I just beat you.
OTH: Lisa, how is it not only being a coach’s wife, but also the mom of the kids coached by your husband?
Lisa: I have been blessed with so many kids to keep me busy and distracted. Being a coach’s wife can be an awkward position. But Marc is such an amazing man and an incredible dad that he makes an incredible coach too. I’ve watched thousands of games but I’m still pretty clueless about basketball. (laughs) I love that he is a chill coach, not screaming at kids. I am just so proud of him the way he carries himself with class and integrity.
Marcus: Except when he made me play with a broken collarbone.
Marc: Well, we didn’t know it was broken at the time!
Marcus: I was in first grade and Will through me into the couch. The collarbone broke in half and he got me an ice pack, read me “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and told me not to tell mom and dad. Next day we had an Upward game and we only had five kids. Dad was like, “You’re playing buddy, sorry.”
OTH: How have you been able to intertwine life, basketball and faith?
Marc: My life verse is Colossians 3:23: Whatever you do, you do it heartily as to the Lord. When I was growing up, I was a follower of Jesus but basketball had taken on a way too big of a part of my life. My identity was formed based on how I performed on the basketball court. God had to break me of that. It was a painful process but exactly what I needed.
Since then I have had a completely different perspective. I still love basketball, it is the greatest game ever invented. But my perspective is different. I understand it is a tool with which we can proclaim the name of Christ. That’s all it is to me. Had I not learned that lesson, I would have had a much harder time playing professionally just because of the pressures that are associated with that. But God has given me a different perspective on where the sport fits in my life. It definitely helped me navigate that and I want to teach that to the next generation.
OTH: Marc you have been very public about your battle with cancer, with it recently having been discovered having spread to your lungs. What is the latest?
Marc: I started a chemotherapy pill about two and a half weeks ago. I’m not having any side effects from that. New kind of chemotherapy. Will get a scan in about six weeks and pray that either God healed me or this medicine does what it is supposed to get rid of these (cancerous) tumors. I feel great, my energy is great. I am still moving weight in the weight room.
Lisa: He has a Strongman competition on April 17. There has been no change. If anything, he has had a more deliberate, conscientious attitude to embrace every day and enjoy it. None of know when our last day is going to be. So it is a good way to live.
Marc: I shared this at Christmas before I knew this stuff was in my lungs. It has made me hang on to what matters and helped me let go of the stuff that doesn’t. I think about faith. I think about family. But it has brought us closer together. I couldn’t imagine going through this without my wife and these guys right here. I can’t get down about it because I am so blessed and God has done so much for me.
Ashton (Wes’s wife): Just to see someone go through something that should break you and make you bitter and angry and instead approaches every day with grace is amazing. Sometimes I sit on the couch and think that it is just so wild someone who has every reason to be angry is instead encouraging people and pointed us to Christ every single day by the things he says and the way he acts. It has been such a blessing to see how he is impacting people.
OTH: How have you guys as a family grown during your time at Blackhawk Christian? As adults? Parents? Teenagers?
Marc: It has been such a special place for us. When we first arrived, Wes was a junior and Will was a sophomore. It is not always an easy time to make that transition. These guys adapted very quickly and we were welcomed and accepted at Blackhawk. Having the opportunity to coach all these guys has been such a blessing. We have some unbelievable memories – practices, games, scouting and everything that goes with that.
Lisa: I started out at Blackhawk Christian in preschool as an assistant, and now I am a high school French teacher. Having all the kids in school and Marc teaching “Future Braves” in kindergarten through first grade and junior high and high school. To be able to know kids from pre-school to graduation makes it feel like such a family there.
Marc: It is a unique place to build a program. Other schools have feeders, but for us, I am with these kindergarteners and first graders and follow them all the way through. It is just a special place with special people.
Marc and the family will go for a second state championship in three years on Saturday as Blackhawk Christian takes on Parke Heritage at 1:30 p.m.