It happened almost every night: The family would have dinner, then Dad would load the kids into the car and drive to a grade school gym. There, they would play wall-to-wall basketball. The father, Rusty Lisch, was a former NFL quarterback. He drove the two boys and two girls hard. However, they didn’t seem to mind. They loved their dad, loved competition and loved becoming the best players on their teams. All four Lisch kids went to college on basketball scholarships, including Kevin Lisch, who became a star player at Saint Louis University.
Lisch scored more than 1,600 points his career and finished sixth on the all-time list. He was a four-year starter and an instant favorite of every Billiken fan. He was an incredible shooter who dove on the floor and wasn’t afraid to bloody his face to help the Bills. Lisch has spent the last three years playing professionally in Australia and stardom has followed him overseas. In his first year, his Perth team won the championship. This season, Lisch was named the league’s Most Valuable Player and is really living the life, making six figures with a free car and a free apartment.
Lisch also has met the love of his life, Rachel Watman. She, too, is a professional basketball player in Australia. The two were married in July. We caught up with Lisch when he returned after the honeymoon.
WHAT IS THE COOLEST THING ABOUT LIVING IN AUSTRALIA? We live right next to the beach. The weather is perfect—it’s sunny 300 days per year. The seafood is really good.
HOW OFTEN DO YOU COMMUNICATE WITH THE FAMILY? I talk to them every day through Skype. They wake up at 3 a.m. to watch my games when they’re streamed.
HOW DID YOU MEET YOUR WIFE? I went to one of her games, and said to my coach (who used to coach her) that she was really cute. One thing led to another, and we are married two years later. She has more of a textbook jump than I do, but we try to keep basketball out of the relationship.
HOW DO YOU REMEMBER YOUR TIME WITH COACH RICK MAJERUS? We had a great relationship. When I forgot a play once, he called me the village idiot. I couldn’t stop laughing—it was all in good fun. Coach Majerus taught me so much about the game.
DO YOU HAVE NBA ASPIRATIONS? I would love it one day. I am happy, though. I have improved each year and I look forward to practice and being with my teammates, who are a great group of guys.
5 RANDOM THOUGHTS:
1. Why is it every time I drive by Lindenwood University, there is a new building on campus? I am not talking about one of those tin buildings that will fold like a napkin after a thunderstorm. The structures are all beautiful brick and stone. What a gorgeous campus!
2. I like the idea of going to Subway because they advertise so many of those low-fat sandwiches. However, every time I go, I end up ordering something fatty that tastes a lot better. So what really is the point?
3. I think there should be a rule adopted by every coach who works with kids 18 or younger. If you say one negative thing to that player, you must come back with two positive things. Ninety-nine percent of the kids are not making to the college ranks anyway, so let them enjoy the experience.
4. The best thing to happen to sports fans lately is the fact that Olympic swimmers now wear bodysuits instead of Speedos. Now, if we can convince overweight European men on the beach to forego the Speedo, it would be a better world.
5. Troy Polamalu lied about his concussions so he could stay in games. That’s a great idea, lie about an injured brain. Some of these guys are going to be really sad stories 20 years from now.
Frank Cusumano is a 14-time Emmy Award winner on KSDK-TV, and he also can be heard on 590 KFNS Radio.