The man behind WKU’s season tickets sees his work as more than just illustrations

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Tyler Eaton

Trey Turner is known for being the man behind WKU’s men’s basketball season ticket design this season, but he’s a lot more than that. 

In high school, Turner dreamed of being a big time basketball player, excelling at Logan County High School and twice being named a Kentucky Nike HoopStar. To chase that dream, he went to Division III liberal arts school Hanover College in Indiana.

Quickly he realized that this dream may simply be just that—a dream—and he decided to come back closer to home to WKU. Soon after returning, however, things took an unexpected turn for the worse.

“I went through some really bad health problems when I got to Western,” Turner, now a WKU alumnus, said. “It actually reached the point that I had to get my left lung removed.”

Turner clarified that he had a portion of his left lung removed in December 2015. His illness effectively ended any hopes Turner had of pursuing that dream of basketball stardom and forced him to begin focusing on other ways to have a successful future.

It was soon after his illness that Turner began focusing on another one of his childhood passions: art. Turner eventually graduated from WKU and moved on to teaching at Daymar College in Bowling Green.

“I always enjoyed drawing when I was younger,” Turner said. “I fell in love with Western Kentucky sports and started drawing players for fun.”

This combination of two of Turner’s greatest loves, art and sports, began as just a hobby but would soon become much more than that.

Using the skills he was developing in graphic design, Turner started to create different illustrations of the players and post them on social media. His first drawing to gain public attention was a 2016 illustration of former Hilltopper George Fant.

The following fall, Turner began to draw illustrations of various football and basketball players. As the popularity of the illustrations continued to increase, so did the enjoyment from making and sharing them.

“I’d just be watching TV and see something cool that happens and think it would be awesome to see a Western player doing that,” Turner said. “Other times, I’ll see an emotional moment on the court and put it into an illustration.”

Turner did all of these illustrations in his free time while working at Daymar. Last year, he got the opportunity to begin his current job at Southcentral Kentucky Community and Technical College. That wasn’t the last opportunity to come his way in 2017, as WKU basketball would soon come calling.

Because of WKU’s switch to Nike apparel, new jerseys had to be made for the basketball teams. The new Nike jerseys didn’t arrive in time for pictures of the players to be taken in them for the season ticket holder packages.

This led to WKU contacting Turner about doing illustrations of all the players. Turner had done many drawings of last year’s players on social media, including drawings of head coach Rick Stansbury.

As it pertains to this Hilltoppers team featured in those season ticket illustrations, Turner has nothing but the highest of praise, even comparing this year’s team to one of WKU’s best in recent memory.

“I’m loving the team,” Turner said. “They play with so much energy. I got here the year after Courtney Lee left, but that team was good, and this is the best team we’ve had since that team with Courtney.”

The Hilltoppers went 29-7 in Lee’s senior season. Lee was named the Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Despite this initially seeming to be a one time occurence out of necessity, he certainly wouldn’t mind doing it again.

“I did it just for the boys this year,” Turner said. “Maybe next year they’ll have me do it again. Maybe I can do the boys and the girls. We’ll see.”

Reporter Tyler Eaton can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected] Follow him on Twitter at @Tyler_eaton1022