For more than two years, Marc Davidson battled cancer with faith and dignity, setting an example for his loved ones, his Blackhawk Christian students and athletes and anyone else who would listen to his testimony. Davidson lost his fight Monday, dying at 49.
His favorite Bible verse is from Colossians, “All things heartily unto the Lord.”
“I've used that verse so many times on myself, on my kids, on kids that I've coached...,” he said in March 2021 before leading the Braves to their second consecutive state title. “Everybody has heard me use that verse, usually with the little things, the simple, the mundane, the routine, that there's a purpose in everything and doing them well. I've been using that verse lately to relate to big things like dying. That's a big thing. I've never thought of Colossians 3:23 as it relates to dying until about three weeks ago, and I've been thinking about it a lot since.”
He is survived by his wife Lisa and their seven children – Wesley (Ashton), William (Sarah), Frankie, Marcus, Jimmy, Jaela and Isaiah.
During a challenge most people would consider keeping private, Davidson embraced his illness as an opportunity to witness. Davidson would ask the opposing coach before the game if it was OK if he talked to the players afterward.
“I think it was C.S. Lewis who said, 'He speaks to us in our comforts but screams at us in our pain,' ” Davidson said. “I've always known God is with me, but right now it's so much more palpable, and you can feel he's with me. All of the truths that I've known for many, many years, it's like they are all in bold print with exclamation points and highlighted and underlined.
“I think about joy which I've always talked to my family a lot about. I've always been told that joy is not dependent upon your circumstances, and I've always believed that in my brain. But right now I feel it in here,” he said, slapping his chest. “I'm overflowing with joy in the midst of this. I'm more aware of this joy than I've ever been going through this. From the time of Jesus, faith causes people to scratch their heads and say, 'What is this? What kind of joy is this?' When you are going through something that is tough, you experience joy in a new way.”
During a nine-year career at Blackhawk Christian, Davidson’s teams compiled a 197-55 record, including going 128-16 the last five years. His teams won eight sectional, two regional and two semistate titles along with state championships in 2019 and 2021.
Matt Roth, a former Indiana University player and Blackhawk Christian assistant coach, was named head coach last week.
Davidson, Troy Neely of Westview and James Blackmon of Bishop Luers are the only Fort Wayne-area boys coaches to win two state titles. Scott Kreiger won four with Canterbury and Gary Andrews three with Bishop Luers in girls basketball, with Teri Rosinski of Bishop Luers, Dave Miller of Concordia and Fred Fields of Huntington North winning two each.
Before coming to Blackhawk Christian in 2013, Davidson was 30-15 during two seasons at Lakewood Park Christian.
Originally diagnosed on October 2020, the cancer continued to spread, but he loved this team and wondered if a third state championship was possible. The Braves finished 23-5, losing in the regional championship game.
With prayers from countless prayers and friends for strength, Davidson continued coaching. He also continued testifying. During the 2021 state tournament title run and again during this regular season, opponents prayed with Davidson and the Braves following games after he gave a short testimony. Often, those sitting in the stands were stone silent as they tried to listen in.
Without a hint of ambiguity, Davidson knew he was doing exactly what God was asking of him.
“We talk a lot about the promises of Scripture, the promise of peace that surpasses all understanding, the promise of joy even in hard times, the promise of eternal life in Christ,” he said. “We also have the promise of trials. Jesus said, 'You will have tribulations.' It's not if, but when. He also said, 'Take heart because I have overcome the world.' A lot of times we don't talk about that promise of suffering, but it's reality.”
Davidson was also a competitive powerlifter, winning the Masters Heavyweight Division title at the Strongman National Championships in Las Vegas in September 2019. Even more amazing, he didn’t start competing until he was 39. Davidson liked to train most mornings in Blackhawk Christian's weight room.
As a player, Davidson played college ball at Illinois and then at Trinity International before playing professionally in France from 1995 to 2006, retiring at age 33.
“There’s a scripture that says `When we are weak we are strong,’ ” Davidson said two years ago. “The more you are in athletics, you are going to get humbled. It just happens, but I think God allows those things to ultimately point us to Him and to realize we were created for more than just this. That’s something I try to express to our players because when you are an 18-year-old high school kid, you think it’s all about right here and right now. I’m just trying to get them to understand a bigger perspective of realizing that ultimately we were created to enjoy fellowship with our creator.”
Services are pending.