Beyond the Jersey: Robert Zepernick’s Story

Cajun Nation

LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) – Robert Zepernick has gone above and beyond at supporting his team mates.

Wether it’s giving advice or simply turning a bad day into a good one, Zepernick is a Cajun you definitely want by your side on the course.

Robert Zepernick is part of the L.I.F.E. program at UL, it stands for Learning is for Everyone.

Like his father, Zepernick loves to play golf.

The university had just shut down their golf P.E. class, so Head Coach Theo Sliman had an idea.

“I said I have one better for you, we’re going to bring him on as a member of our team. So RObert joined our program two years ago.”

Zepernick was diagnosed with Down Syndrome at a young age, but that doesn’t stop him from playing the sport that he loves.

“He comes to practice twice a week,” explained Sliman, “He has his own locker here. He’s taking a few classes with other golfers on campus outside of practice. he’s traveled with us twice, he came to the conference championship twice with us and it’s been an absolute joy having him.”

Robert, also known as Bob, has taught his teammates as well as his coach a lot about life.

“First and foremost, life is hapy.” said Sliman, “There’s not a bad day that he has. I can assure you us as coaches and players you get caught in yourself and you get caught in the grind of college athletics and I’ve come to practice many times really low, really down and struggling internally,” he continued, ” and then when Bob shows up  it just leaves you.” 

“If you think you have a bad day,” said golfer Triston Elston, “Try to approach it like Bob does.” 

During the Louisiana Classic, Bob hit the ceremonial first shot.

“What a treat,” said Sliman with a smile on his face, “I have to admit I got a little emotional as did a couple others.”

“It felt good,” said Zepernick “The lord has called on me to hit the ball.”

Triston Elstion, is one of Zepernick’s best friend’s on the team.

Elston has known Zepernick since his freshman year.

Last semester, Elston and Zepernick had a class together, and that’s when their friendship really hit a deeper level. 

“Most classes he would have a snack like a little granola bar,” said Elston, “and he would give me half od that to eat in class everyday just to kind of make me happy. It just shows how giving and how special he is to me and to our teammates.” 

Now, you can find Bob on the golf course at Oakbourne, giving Elston advice on his game. 

“Hit it straight and make me proud,” said Zepernick.

When he’s not giving advice, he’s joking with coach, about taking over the reigns for the Ragin Cajun golf team.

“I would like to take his place as a coach,” said Zepernick, “and I’m excited for that.”

Zepernick will be graduating come May and while everyone is going to miss him, they know he will for ever be a part of the Ragin Cajun Golf team. 

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