Wisconsin down syndrome student and his high school JV Boy’s Basketball coach display special bond on center court


GLENDALE, WI (WITI) – A special bond took center court at a Wisconsin high school this week.

It was the final home game of the JV season and the coach had his own surprise for his team.

It is game night at Nicolet High School.

Everyone is getting ready, including JV Boy’s Basketball team manager, Hunter Peterson.

“Everybody calls me Coach T,” said Terence Smith, Nicolet High School JV Boy’s Basketball Coach.

Coach Terence Smith knows Friday night’s game will be tough on many fronts.

“I’m tearing up here,” said Coach Smith.

It’s the final home game of the season and one of his stars, #14, isn’t staying on the bench.

“He might not be able to ever do this again in his life and there’s a lot of kids who want to do this and can’t,” said Coach Smith.

Coach T and Hunter developed a friendship that doesn’t take note of its differences.

“He’s not a down syndrome kid to me per se, he’s another kid like anyone else. He would come to practice and practice and play with us, so let’s suit him up let’s play him,” said Coach T.

They met in special education at Nicolet four years ago and realized a love of basketball was something they shared.

“He would come to practice and practice and play with us. So let’s suit him up. Let’s play him,” said Coach Smith.

Hunter is in his third season. He’ s a senior and this year will be his last.

“My best friend is Coach T,” said Hunter.

“This is it. He’s my senior. He’s done. It’s all over,” said Coach T.

Like any good friend, Coach T knows just what Hunter needs.

“It’s more than basketball. It’s about life,” said Coach Smith. “Come one, Hunter, come on!”

“We’d been practicing and I was just hoping he’d make it,” said Coach T.

Like any good friendship, we may even surprise each other. A second shot with a look that said it all.

“It’s a big moment. It’s the first time he hit a three,” said Coach Smith.

It was a moment bigger than basketball.

“It means a lot for him. He’ll remember this for the rest of his life,” said Coach Smith.

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