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Northridge basketball coach trains players on the court and in life

Northridge basketball coach trains players on the court and in life (WKEF/WRGT)

DAYTON, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Northridge Head Coach Jeff Lisath knew his calling was on the basketball court.

"Sports is a universal language," he said. "It crosses all barriers, and I think it's where kids get that sense of relief."

But that calling was for so much more than just the sport.

"I think the Lord had put it on my heart and mind to help our youth as they struggle with all kinds of things in life," Lisath continued.

The former prep hoops star crossed over into coaching after several decades as an Ohio prison warden. A big part of that change included summer camps for the kids, which he pays out of his own pocket.

The camps include breakout sessions where Lisath listens and talks to the kids about life, and soon-to-be junior Chad Florence said those lessons stick.

"Always be determined, and if I want something to go get it," he said, "and to never give up on my dreams."

Recent graduate Brandon Murphy said Lisath has been more like a father to him. He also is getting one of four $500 scholarship, which the coach has handed out for the past three years with the help of the Dayton Foundation.

"I'm constantly preaching to my kids, they're students first and athletes second," Lisath said. "So to back that up, I'm telling them, 'Hey, if you can get a certain grade point average, if you can do the things you're supposed to do in the classroom, then you can earn a scholarship for college'."

Along with the local camps at Northridge, Lisath also puts together a yearly tournament in his hometown of Portsmith, which will happen later in the summer.

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