Coaching basketball is not easy.
Extending your reach far beyond the game as a high school basketball coach is significantly more difficult.
Then there is what Marc Davidson has done and continues to do.
Davidson has coached for 22 years and some of us remember him from before he was a Blackhawk Christian Brave. Some us remember the Blackhawk Christian Braves before Marc Davidson too. But once those two things were intertwined, basketball in this grand community changed forever.
Words like “legacy” and “legendary” get thrown around enough that they lose meaning. The Marc Davidson legacy and the Blackhawk Christian legend are things that live on forever because of the impact the man has had on everyone he has come in contact with.
The testimonials alone would be staggering; if we tried to compile them it would take days for someone to read. Davidson changed the game in this area, which is huge to someone like me and so many others who live for basketball. But he also has changed lives, lives of people who may not have known much about him before their first experience with him.
For those of us who have been lucky enough to cover Marc, sitting down with him in his Blackhawk Christian coaching office, at a media day, in his home or after a state finals, it is clear that nobody does it better. Davidson has always been what we’d call “a great quote,” and you never fall short of a word count or column inch space after talking to him.
That’s because Davidson loves his kids on the court. And not just Wes, Will, Frankie, Marcus and Jimmy, who have all played for him at Blackhawk and who many of us have been lucky enough to cover with Marc as their coach.
Every kid who steps foot onto the court for Marc is his kid. The glow in his eyes and his smile when talking about his players showcases that love to a high degree. Davidson wants every Joey Morlan and every Gage Sefton to be the men that he would want Frankie or Jimmy to be. You have always been able to tell what an honor it is for him to coach his own children and yes, it’s absolutely different with them. But that could never take away from the passion he has had in coaching and talking about other people’s children who are part of his program.
Not talking to Marc every season will be difficult because he was always there with intensity, integrity and honesty in his position. Whether it was one of those long conversations in person , over the phone or a quick text question confirmed with a simple thumbs up emoji, as a writer or reporter, we always get the real Marc.
Davidson’s faith is deep and it’s wonderful. We don’t all need to feel the same way about our faith or religion and that’s OK. It’s OK to Marc and he makes that clear too. But on top of that, he has made it abundantly clear that his faith is always center stage in his life.
In a past life, a former colleague of mine and I sat down with Marc, Blackhawk Christian principal Mark Harmon and athletic director Joel Cotton to talk about doing a season-long docuseries following Blackhawk Christian basketball. Sadly, it never came to fruition, but something Davidson said at the end of that meeting will always stick with me: “we are a Christian school and program and we won’t hide that.” And he wouldn’t have and they wouldn’t have and it would have made for great viewing either way. But YouTube views aside, that statement meant so much. With the potential of thousands more eyes on his program than ever before, Davidson’s heart was 100 percent rooted in what he built his career on.
Marc Davidson is unapologetically himself.
In a world where religion and sport are both so divisive, Davidson has succeeded by being the man he feels he is pushed to be, has been taught to be. And that is beautiful.
If you’ve been to a Blackhawk Christian home basketball game since Davidson took over the bench nine years ago, you’ve seen the postgame huddle. Players and coaches of all schools with their arms around each other praying and listening to the messages that come from Davidson’s mouth. It may or may not have been more meaningful this season depending on who you are, but it speaks to the glory in Davidson’s words, his glory to God, that those huddled happened everywhere with everyone during the 2021-22 season. Home games, road games, sectional games, fans, coaches, players, family….the man has a message and a platform to discuss it. Never overly preachy in his approach, Davidson is lively in how he acts as a conduit for God’s word and how it can alter one’s life, even if religion isn’t part of your daily routine. There are hundreds who would love to hear one of those postgame talks just one more time or even for the first time. It was pure.
Last Thursday, Davidson announced he would be leaving the sidelines as he continues to battle cancer. We knew it was coming, but nevertheless there was a little heartbreak involved. One of the greatest leaders our community has seen in this generation was leaving the daily consciousness of many people. But the glory in that is that by those lives he has touched, especially those who have put on a Braves uniform over the past decade, he isn’t going anywhere because Marc Davidson is a life changer.
So no farewell is needed. For the Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana basketball community, it is simply a “see you soon coach,” and more importantly….thank you.
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