Family, friends remember WKU student


Taylor Harrison

Dan English said he and his son, Tyler, had the kind of relationship most fathers and sons don’t get to have.

“We were best friends,” Dan said.

Tyler, who was a sophomore from Louisville, died in a house fire on Oct. 31.

Dan said it really hit him at Tyler’s viewing on Sunday how much his son had meant to so many people when more than 1,000 people came.

“It amazes me how many friends there were that loved him,” he said.

So many people said that Tyler had been an inspiration to them, and Dan said that was

the nicest thing anyone could say because it showed “the influence and the love that he had and people had for him.”

Dan said Tyler loved football. He had planned to play football for WKU, but a car accident

in the summer of 2012 kept him in the hospital for two or three months, and rehab took a year. He was unable to play, but he joined the recruiting staff for the football team.

Dan said Tyler “absolutely cherished” getting to be a part of the team, despite being unable to play.

When Tyler was being recruited in high school to play college football, he and Dan would

take road trips to visit different colleges’ football camps. On one trip, they drove to the University

of Notre Dame and Ohio State University. But instead of going home, Tyler said he would really like to visit Florida State University, too. So they just kept driving. 

“Those are some of my best memories because we got to spend so much time together on the road,” he said. 

Along with his passion for football, Tyler loved music. He was in a band, Useless Fluke, with a good friend Riley Walz. Tyler played guitar in the band. 

“We really bonded in a way most people couldn’t, through music,” Walz said. 

Walz said he and Tyler also loved to go fishing and swimming at a five-acre pond near Tyler’s house. They had contests to see who could catch the biggest bass. Walz said he remembered a time when he had caught a pretty good bass, and Tyler hadn’t caught anything. But then Tyler hooked something he thought was a big catch, and looked at Walz as he tried to reel it in, convinced he would win. It turned out to be a tree trunk stuck on the bottom of the pond. 

“I ragged on him for a while about that,” Walz said. “It was just always a good time out there.” 

He said that no matter what, Tyler always had an extremely good outlook on life. 

“He loved his life,” Walz said. “He lived in the absolute present.” 

He said Tyler was goofy, witty, funny and also served as a “big brother” to his friends.

“If we were having a bad day, we would look at him and we wouldn’t be having a bad day anymore,” Walz said.

Tyler was also a great big brother to his two younger sisters, according to his dad. 

“When it came to his family, he was very overprotective of his two sisters,” Dan said. “He couldn’t have been a better big brother.” 

Louisville junior Travis Holtzclaw, a friend of Tyler who was one of his roommates, said Tyler was the nicest person you would ever meet with the biggest heart. Holtzclaw said Tyler would mostly be remembered for putting others before himself.

“He taught me more than any of my peers because of the trials and tribulations he had to go through…,” he said.