Russell Lanehart
Russell Lanehart

Russell Lanehart replays the words in his mind every day.

Lanehart was on his way home from work when he received a call from his former high school basketball coach, Parkview Christian Academy's Don Davidson.

"He calls me and says from all his years of coaching, and watching players and what not, I would be his No. 1 guy to take the job," Lanehart said. "That was a huge compliment to me, personally. Don, he has a basketball gym named after him. The guy is a legend in the area."

And now, Lanehart is the man tasked to follow the legend.

Lanehart, a 2016 Parkview Christian graduate, has been announced as the new boys basketball coach at the Yorkville school. He replaces Davidson, who retired in February after a 50-year Hall of Fame career. Davidson, who started the program at Parkview Christian after doing the same at Aurora Christian, has remained on as athletic director and Bible and history teacher.

"It blows me away," Lanehart said. "I've thought about it a lot. It's a huge honor that he would consider me for the job."

Lanehart was named upon recommendation of Davidson and by unanimous decision of the Parkview Christian board along with the approval of new superintendent, Dr. Ray Epperson.

“Russell loves the game of basketball, has a great passion for it, was an outstanding captain of his team, and played with amazing intensity," Davidson said. "I know that he’ll demand that same dedication of our boys in the basketball program."

Lanehart, who lives in Sheridan with his wife and Cassie and son Elias, is a full-time electrician and volunteers as a firefighter EMT in Sheridan.

He first dipped his toes into coaching in high school in Somonauk, where he had the opportunity to help coach the elementary team.

"It was a blast. I loved the opportunity to mentor young minds," Lanehart said. "I loved the game of basketball, and I loved playing it."

Lanehart's senior year he left Somonauk Christian for Parkview Christian.

"Playing for Don was a lot different than playing for my old coach," Lanehart said. "The intensity level, the level of play was so much higher. We were playing bigger schools. I'm 6-foot, I went from being the tallest kid at Somonauk Christian to the shortest starter at Parkview. It was such a highlight to start playing at a higher level. I got to test my skills. Playing for Don was a blast."

Lanehart said it crossed his mind a couple times since graduating that he might consider coaching. He helped out in summer leagues in recent years, and was asked by Davidson to be an assistant.

"I'm excited to learn under him as an AD," Lanehart said.

Lanehart, one of five siblings, will have two younger brothers on his first team at Parkview Christian. Lehman will be a senior, Luke a sophomore this fall.

"I'm really excited. I'm the type of person that's really competitive," Lanehart said. "I'm really anxious to see how we can continue to make the program great. It's on the right track. My hope is we have a team that's hard working and isn't afraid to back down from a challenge. In the IHSA, you're playing some pretty big schools and Parkview is not that big. It's fun to be the underdog."