WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Thursday morning, all six Tippecanoe County boys high school basketball coaches gathered on the Myers Pedestrian Bridge in an effort to support the Black Lives Matter movement sweeping across the country.
West Lafayette head coach Dave Wood organized the gathering that included Faith Christian's Clayton Callan, McCutcheon's Tyler Scherer, Harrison's Mark Rinehart, Lafayette Jeff's Mark Barnizer and Central Catholic's Dave Barrett. Assistant coaches from many of the staffs were also present.
For Wood, the message he wants the public to know is just as much about the players in his program, as it is about him as a coach.
"This started because my players wanted to say something," said Wood. "You know we're going to do something later, but they were the ones that said, let's do something."
"I know what it's like to have people say derogatory things, give me derogatory looks, simply because of the color of my skin," said Wood.
"We just need to respect each other. Everybody."
Each of the coaches present come from different backgrounds, and experiences with the game of basketball. Barnhizer has made several trips across the state of Indiana, which also includes a stop at a high school in Alabama.
"Having been in Alabama, I've seen racial inequality and I don't ever want to see what I saw in that situation," said Barnhizer.
Rinehart said that we can learn from the young people in our community. He looks at his players as leaders on the court, in school and throughout the Greater Lafayette area.
"The one thing I've come to learn about them [Harrison's players] is, they do all come from different backgrounds," said Rinehart.
"Through sports, they learn to trust each other and to recognize the differences but have each other's backs as teammates and brothers, as basketball players."
"We're here to emphasize, that all lives can't matter, until black lives matter," said Scherer.