Meet Athlete Coach Peter!

February 19, 2015

For the past four years, Peter Annis has stepped into a different role in Special Olympics Wisconsin—he serves as an athlete coach for Shepherds Warhawks basketball team, guiding his team on the court with hands-on drills and teaching them basic techniques. 

“What’s really cool with Peter, you have a unique case—he’s a coach for basketball but he’s an athlete for track and field,” says Dave Fantl, Peter’s coach and mentor. “The amount of respect he has for athletes is just above and beyond, because he is one.” 

Having that unique perspective pushes Peter to make connections with the athletes that he works with. Dave says that Peter has the ability to really pinpoint the strengths and opportunities that the athletes he works with have, which is by no means an easy feat for anyone. 

“Every player is different,” Peter says about helping his team, but he does have a favorite moment about coaching. “When the light turns on and [athletes] understand exactly what you’re saying… I appreciate their listening to me.” 

Peter was encouraged to pursue coaching because a friend of his is an athlete coach, and has loved the opportunity to make new friends over the past few years coaching. He encourages other athletes to take on the leadership role as well, knowing how much he’s grown within the opportunity. Peter also serves as one of the few Athlete Clinicians in Wisconsin, and facilitates Principles of Coaching, teaching coaches how to best work with their athletes, and general rules and safety procedures to follow. 

Peter’s 9-year journey as an athlete has taken him across the country, winning a gold medal in New Jersey at USA Games this past summer as part of the flag football team. Peter has enjoyed playing bocce, bowling, basketball, track and field and softball through the years but says that his three main sports are flag football, softball and coaching basketball right now. Getting involved has paid off “quite a bit” for Peter, who says that with a laugh. 

Rebecca Terrill, the agency manager for Agency #7-20 Shepherds, admires Peter’s dedication to coaching and helping his players be the best that they can be. “He has this leadership quality about him—he wants others to succeed as he has.” 

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