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Waukesha County boy forms unlikely friendship with NCAA tournament team

WAUKESHA COUNTY, Wis. (CBS 58) -- Maybe it's harder for some Wisconsin sports fans to get excited about the NCAA Tournament this year. After all, the Badgers, Golden Eagles nor UWM Panthers will compete in March Madness.

But not for 11-year-old Bobby Horner. 

The student at Maple Avenue Elementary in Sussex is rooting hard for a 10-seed out of the northeast: The Providence College Friars. 

Horner formed an unlikely friendship with Friars head coach Ed Cooley back in 2016, when the Horner family went to watch the Marquette-Providence match-up at the Bradley Center. 

"That year Marquette beat Providence, and my son was pretty distraught," said Bobby's father, Bob Horner. 

Cooley noticed the upset young fan behind the Providence bench, and went over to console him. 

"Coach Cooley came up to me and said someday, if I get good grades, maybe someday I could play for him," said Bobby. 

Bobby's father Bob Horner stayed in touch with Coach Cooley over the next few years.Then when the Friars returned to the Bradley Center, Cooley had a surprise in store for the young fan he calls his "good luck charm."

"Providence won, and then when I was waiting over by the fence area to shake their hands," said Bobby. "They told me to come back to the locker room with them. It was cool, they were just celebrating." 

During his postgame speech, Cooley brought Bobby to the front of the room.

"He was the only one there with a Providence shirt on," Cooley said. 

Coach Cooley even gave Bobby a handwritten note. It says "all dreams come true, just believe."

And Bobby does believe. 

The Friars are a 10-seed taking on 7th-seeded Texas A&M on Friday. Bobby says he believes because the Friars beat Xavier and Villanova this year, they can make it deep in the tournament. 

Or at least they better, because Bobby doesn't take losses very well.

"I get really scared, and then my stomach starts hurting," he said. "But the fun part is that I get to stay up late to watch the games."

Win or lose, Bobby says he's going to keep practicing hoops. He's hoping one day, he can play for his favorite coach, instead of watching the team from the sidelines.

Bobby's dad thinks he can do it, too. 

"That would be the fairy tale ending," he said. 

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