16U Team Power coach Trevor Welcher will never forget his 17th birthday.
There wasn’t a big cake. And it wasn’t the gifts that made the day so special.
No, it was much less exultant. More tragedy than celebration.
Sept. 29, 2005 was unforgettable for a different reason. It was the day his brother, 23-year-old Frederick Welcher, was found dead in his apartment at Fort Valley State.
“It’s amazing how things can be totally happy one moment and then comes a feeling that destroy you,” Trevor said in a 2006 article in the Augusta Chronicle. “To find out your brother died on your birthday…I’ll never live down my dad calling to tell me what happened.”
It was that day when Trevor contemplated giving up the game of basketball. It had brought Trevor and his brother so close together over the years and, in the moment, there was no way Trevor could contemplate stepping back on the floor without the watchful eye of his older brother.
Still, he knew Frederick would want differently.
Instead of turning his back on the game, Trevor vowed to not only continue playing basketball but to use the game as a vehicle to help Augusta youth through any hardships in their lives.
“It’s a coping mechanism,” Welcher said. “I grew up playing [basketball] so that’s all I really knew. When he passed, I was going to give it up. Just me giving back to the kids and helping them is the main thing.”
As a coach, Trevor has been through it all before: tragedy, recruitment, struggles and success.
Trevor was a highly recruited player who competed in AAU events in between seasons at Richmond Academy. He started four seasons at Delaware State University and earned his first job as a coach, a graduate assistant, with the Hornets.
As he promised, Trevor continues to use the game for more than just sport. His athletes look to him for guidance, both on and off the court.
“They ask me a lot of questions because I was on this stage,” Welcher said. “I played AAU basketball when I was young, so answering their questions and helping them get through whatever they’re going through in their life is beneficial.”
There is no place Trevor feels closer to his brother than on the basketball court. His story and his experience drives his work as a friend, a coach and a mentor to youth athletes.
And, perhaps more importantly, his memory of Frederick lives on as the inspiration behind his continued work in the game of basketball.
“I use him as motivation in everything I do,” Welcher said. “He was really special to me.”
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