Starting and Finishing in Prison


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SportsLeader encourages all of our teams to incorporate service projects into their schedule.

Here below is a story of how the Franciscan University of Steubenville Men's basketball team did just that.

Sports done with virtue can transform society.

Virtue = Strength, Lou Judd 

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Franciscan University Basketball started and finished our season in prison. We played against a team of incarcerated men. We visited a large penitentiary and played against their basketball team. The first time we played them, it was our first game of the year. It was an incredibly humbling experience. We toured the facility and played a competitive game. After discussing the event afterwards, I would have said that the prison game affected our young men more than the prisoners, until I received a letter from the Warden of the prison which I have included below.

The Warden contacted us a few weeks ago requesting to set up a second game, because of the positive impact that was left with the men in the prison. We were able to accommodate and play a second game. The experience was just as gratifying. Each of the young men on our team understood, that visiting the imprisoned is a corporal act of mercy and it fulfills our program's second foundational characteristic of Justice. I was so proud of each of our young men that evening. They lived their faith out through their actions more than their words.


John Lamanna 
Head Men's Basketball Coach 
Franciscan University of Steubenville


Mr Lamanna,

I wanted to take this opportunity to thank you and your team for taking the time to play basketball against the inmates. Entering a prison to play against an inmate team is not high on most people's priority list and you and your team should be commended.

I have received many positive comments regarding your team and the game. We are focused on preparing inmates to re-enter society. Programs such as this game provide interaction with the community and enhance the re-entry process. The game was motivational and appreciated by the inmates and staff alike. Anytime we get 420 inmates to participate in an activity, we know it was a success. I hope that game was beneficial to the young men on your team. We would love to have you back in the spring for another game.

Please thank your staff and your team and best of luck on a successful season.