Blackhawk Christian has a new boys basketball coach, the school announced Wednesday. Former Indiana University basketball player Matt Roth will take over the job after serving as an assistant coach this past season at Heritage.
He will replace Marc Davidson, who’s nine season run as the Braves head coach recently came to an end.
Roth currently works as the Director of Sports Medicine-Performance for OPS, a position he will leave in order to move to Blackhawk Christian. At the school, Roth will serve as a physical education and health teacher in addition to his head coaching duties.
“I am really looking forward to some of the challenges and nuisances of teaching, there will be a learning curve there. After talking with the principal and a couple of teachers that are involved within their PE programs, there is going to be an outpouring of support and connections I can make there,” Roth said. “It comes back to my enjoyment and passion for being able to work with kids, teach them, educated them, help them grow.”
“I am excited to have Matt Roth committing to lead our boys’ basketball program at Blackhawk Christian,” Blackhawk Christian athletic director Joel Cotton stated in a press release from the school. “The foundation that Coach Davidson has laid for the program is one that will only continue to thrive under Matt’s leadership. As a current BCS parent, Matt understands what Blackhawk Christian basketball and the BCS community are all about, having also spent time here before as an employee and coach. He is a great fit for our program!”
While Roth spent the 2021–2022 season on the boys basketball staff under Adam Gray at Heritage, he does have experience coaching locally prior to that. Roth was a varsity assistant at Blackhawk Christian from 2013-2016. Through OPS, Roth has worked with many of the areas best boys basketball players in the past few years, including Caleb Furst, Luke Goode and Fletcher Loyer.
“Getting back into the coaching realm this past year, I was able to take on some of those responsibilities and help Adam [Gray]. [It] just kind of reaffirmed for me that I have an extreme passion for coaching and being able to work with high school kids in particular,” Roth said. “It has been on my heart as a prayer for guidance and connection. Connect the dots back to working with Marc as an assistant coach, Blackhawk kind of had a special place in my heart in terms of ministry and working with the kids.”
He has also acted as a high school basketball official in recent seasons in Northeast Indiana.
Roth played at Indiana University from 2008-2012. He then stayed at the school to complete his masters in Sports and Fitness Administration/Management. As a player for coach Tom Crean at IU, Roth averaged 4.8 points while hitting 41.6 percent of his three pointers and 88.2 percent from the free throw line over four seasons. In his final year, Roth helped Indiana to a Sweet Sixteen berth while playing in a career best 34 games and averaging 4.3 points per contest. Roth’s final season saw him shoot 54.5 percent from three point range, the best percentage in the Big Ten.
Blackhawk Christian is coming off of a Sectional championship season and will return numerous key pieces from the team, including Outside Huddle All-Area player Gage Sefton, as well as Josh Furst, Jimmy Davidson and sophomore-to-be post Kellen Pickett, who many have tabbed to be a potential breakout star in the area next season.
“I would say I am fairly familiar with the returning core having coached last year. You are constantly looking at different sets and things you can steal from different coaches. Going back to my first year with Marc, he has always run phenomenal actions, actions that work for his guys,” Roth said. “I would be lying if I said I hadn’t been constantly watching his program from a far.”
That work will start soon for Roth, who will transition completely to Blackhawk and away from OPS this summer, expected in late June. That said, June is also a month where high school coaches work together closely with their basketball programs. For Roth, jumping in with the returning group is key to keep them at a championship level. The Braves have won some sort of postseason title in each of the past five seasons and in eight of the last nine overall.
But that build, Roth says, won’t be completely from scratch. With Roth’s knowledge of the program and respect for what Davidson built over his nine year term as head coach, it won’t be completely starting from scratch while he builds relationships with returning players.
“It will start here in some of the workouts we are able to do. Ultimately it is going to start with building a whole new relationship the kids have already with the game, the lord, the incredible structure Marc already has in place and continue to build with their basketball knowledge and passion. Early on in the offseason it is going to be important to sit down and map our our goals and expectations on an individual and team level,” Roth said.