NATCHITOCHES – Taking over a basketball program can feel like putting out fires, but the Northwestern State basketball staff spent time with real firefighters Tuesday evening.
New NSU head coach Corey Gipson aims to build connections with the community, and the Demon coaching staff hung out with the Natchitoches Fire Department on their court behind the Central Fire Station on Second Street.
“Playing basketball with those guys was great, and we really wanted to give back to the fire department for what they do for our community, for putting their lives on the line every day,” Gipson said. “They were very hospitable to us, and they blessed us more than we did them.
“Those guys were in good shape – we can sign them up to be Demons.”
New coaches Rodney Hamilton, Tony Holliday and Tim Ward suited up alongside graduate assistants Travis Allen, KC Henry, Joey Heimel and student manager Kellen Haymon to play pickup ball with local firefighters.
Gipson said he and his staff stopped by the department previously to meet community members, which precipitated the setup of the pick-up game on the firemen’s home court.
“It’s just a way to show our appreciation for what they do for the community,” Gipson said. “We want to connect with all kinds of community groups in this way.”