DANVILLE — Terrence Tetter was more than a wrestling coach at Danville.
On Saturday, Tetter passed away after a nearly nine-month battle with a brain illness.
“It was a shock and caught me completely off-guard when I got the call,’’ said Mark Bacys, athletics director at Danville High School. “Terrence was a pillar of Danville High School. You saw him everywhere around school and at every athletic event. He, genuinely, was in it for the kids.’’
One of the kids that Tetter helped along the way at Danville was Glen Rowell, who is currently an assistant football coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Ky.
“I knew coach Tetter when I was growing up and we already had a relationship when I got to the high school,’’ Rowell said. “The struggles that I went through in high school, coach Tetter was one of the people that helped me the most get on the right track. He was always there for me.’’
Not only did Tetter help Rowell at Danville, but he also helped him after high school.
“He helped get me to Joliet (Junior College), and if there were times that I needed a little help, he was there for me,’’ Rowell said. “He knew that I wanted to get into coaching, so he hired me as his assistant coach, giving me my first shot.’’
Rowell spent two seasons on the Danville bench.
“He taught me the ins and outs of coaching and he would let me run my own practices,’’ Rowell said. “He knew this was something I wanted to do and he helped me along the way.’’
But in a true Tetter fashion, he didn’t let Rowell leave without giving him a little grief.
“When I told him that I was leaving to coach college football, he joked with me about how he wanted to retire and turn it over to me,’’ Rowell said. “He was just giving me a hard time. He told me to go live my dreams to their fullest and that’s what I’m doing.’’
Rowell, who also played football, acknowledged that Tetter’s true love was anything to do with Danville High.
“It didn’t matter if you played basketball, football, track or soccer, if you were from Danville — he would support you no matter what,’’ Rowell said. “He loved all of the kids and all of the kids loved him.’’
Former Danville boys track coach and football coach Steve Luke echoed those sentiments on social media.
“Such a loss to the Viking family today with the passing of Terrence Tetter,’’ Luke wrote on Saturday. “Coach Tetter’s commitment to the young people of Danville was without compare. He was a true Viking in life and spirit. Many prayers to the Tetter Family this morning.’’
Suzi Perez, whose is the mother to Danville wrestlers Cruz and Dominic Perez, called Tetter a “good coach and a good friend” of the kids.
“He was always there for any of the kids if they had any issues,’’ she said. “I truly don’t know if we will have a wrestling team, because he was the one that has been holding it together.’’
Bacys admitted that Tetter’s passing has left a large hole in the Danville wrestling program.
“Obviously, we are going to try to find another coach but we’re not going to be able to replace someone like Terrence Tetter,’’ he said. “He brought a presence and a stability to the program. The relationships and the bonds that he had with the kids were exceptional.
“He was a mentor to a lot of young men and young women.’’
Tetter spent nearly 20 years with the Danville program including the last 10 as the head coach. He was also one of eight members of the IHSA boys wrestling advisory committee.
During his time at Danville, the Vikings had three all-state wrestlers. Mark Carpenter took 2nd at 103 pounds in 2004, Anthony Turner was 2nd at 145 in 2019 to go along with a 4th at 132 in 2018 and a 5th at 120 in 2017, and Porifirio Perez was 6th at 160 in 2017.