‘Red Towel Guy’ encourages Hilltopper fans to stand up and cheer

Senior Brendan Ward shows off his school spirit and support for WKU athletics with his handmade red towel outfit. The hat, shirt, pants and cape took a year in total to make. Ward’s favorite sport to attend is basketball because “the players and coaches are close enough to hear me.”

Laurel Deppen

Brendan Ward has made a name for himself at WKU. More commonly known as the “Red Towel Guy,” Ward said he wants to promote spirit in WKU athletics.

What makes Ward stand out from other Hilltopper fans at sporting events is his outfit that he made completely out of Red Towels. The outfit features a variety of towels that Ward said he has collected since the beginning of his academic career at WKU. He recalls having over 30 towels sitting around his room and deciding to turn them into a cape.

“I used to wear [the cape] around campus a lot to see how people would take it in,” Ward said.

Soon after, Ward said he still had a lot of Red Towels, so he made pants and a shirt.

“I always like to do things,” Ward said. “It was something I was doing whenever I was bored. I would just pick up my towels and stitch them together, and then it became a whole outfit.”

Originally from Memphis, Tennessee, Ward is a broadcasting major. He recalled finding WKU and growing to love it.

“I can come here, I can learn, enjoy free games, get my education and still be a college student who learns and makes mistakes,” Ward said. “All of this is in one place and I still have people to support me. That’s the sense I get from WKU. It’s very supporting. You can be crazy. You don’t have to worry about being judged. You can be you. That’s what I became when I first started wearing my outfit.”

Ward channels this love for WKU in his spirit at athletic events. Ward met Aaliyah Hawkins, who he calls his game buddy, at a football game in 2017. Ever since then, the pair has been attending games together.

Hawkins described her game experiences with Ward as “exciting.”

“You never know what he is going to say,” Hawkins said. “He will make jokes about the players, coaches and the fans. He chants all the cheers at the game, even if the band, dancers or cheerleaders are not saying them. Overall, he will make you laugh and enjoy yourself.”

Ward said he takes great pride in standing out at games. He said that if he didn’t want to stand out, he wouldn’t wear the outfit. Hawkins called him “the most dedicated fan out there.”

“I feel like I’m a third mascot,” Ward said. “There’s Big Red, the white squirrel and the Red Towel Guy.”

Ward is set to graduate in December 2018, and he hopes that before then he can make a positive impact on his fellow Hilltopper fans.

“I want to leave a positive impact on my community,” he said. “When people see me, they see me smiling and happy.”

Ward said that he wants his persona as the Red Towel Guy to encourage people to be more vocal and supportive at games.

“We’re not loud enough,” Ward said. “We have the power to leave a positive impact on the team.”

Ward said that he wants to take pictures with as many WKU fans as he can. He emphasized that when he graduates he doesn’t want to bring his outfit with him. He said he wants to look at his pictures to remember the time, but he doesn’t want his outfit to collect dust in his closet.

“It would be amazing if it could be put somewhere on campus,” Ward said. “If it’s here, I’ll be happy. I want it to be a tradition.”

Features reporter Laurel Deppen can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]