JOPLIN, Mo. — There’s always that one person that no matter where life may take them, you can always find them with a smile. Joplin High School has theirs in Jeremiah Brown.
“He loves the Eagles probably more than anybody that I’ve ever met,” Joplin girls head basketball coach Jeff Williams said.
Williams met Brown for the first time years ago when he coached the boys team and Jeremiah’s brothers Nick and Charlie. It was then Williams knew he needed Brown as part of the team.
“I can tell you that Jeremiah likes the winners,” Williams laughs. “He likes the winners, and fortunately for us we’ve been on top of our boys athletics here for awhile, and he just celebrates that with quite the emotion.”
Brown, who has Down syndrome, brings life to the Joplin community. He memorizes players numbers. He draws up plays before every game. It’s what makes Brown who he is.
“After any win, I wouldn’t say it’s one moment, it’s after any win when I lose track of Jeremiah, I’ll turn around and he is there,” Joplin boys head basketball coach Jeff Hafer said. “Or I’ll get caught from behind with a huge hug, ‘We did it, coach. We did it. Party time coach.’ That’s what he says every single time, ‘We did it, we did it.'”
From plenty of bear hugs to finding his way on the sidelines for football, his involvement stretches further than just sports. The impact he’s had on the Joplin community for ten years now far exceeds the impact Joplin sports has had on Brown.
“You see kind of some of the things Jeremiah has overcome and how happy he is all the time,” Joplin head football coach Curtis Jasper said. “And it just puts everything into perspective. We’re put here to enjoy this life.”
When you look to sum up Brown’s impact on the Joplin community, coach Williams has the answer.
“He gives you that sense that everything is going to be okay,” Williams said. “He’s so positive and always wants the Eagles to do well. He’s that rock that kind of stabilizes things for you.”
Coach Jeff Hafer raw interview:
Coach Jeff Williams raw interview:
Coach Curtis Jasper raw interview: