College Sports

Wes Strader, longtime ‘voice of the Hilltoppers,’ dies at age 79

Charles Wesley “Wes” Strader, who was a radio play-by-play broadcaster for Western Kentucky University for more than 36 years, died Tuesday at age 79.
Charles Wesley “Wes” Strader, who was a radio play-by-play broadcaster for Western Kentucky University for more than 36 years, died Tuesday at age 79. Provided by WKU Athletics

A radio play-by-play broadcaster who was the voice of the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers for more than 36 years died Tuesday night at age 79.

Charles Wesley “Wes” Strader, among the most prominent sports broadcasting figures in Kentucky, was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002, according to WKU Athletics. Strader covered WKU football and men’s basketball for radio station WKCT, later called WBLG, and he was involved in the coverage of the Kentucky High School Athletic Association Sweet Sixteen boy’s basketball championships.

“He was an iconic broadcaster in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and a loyal member of the WKU family, whose friendship and dedication to the Hilltoppers spanned decades,” WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart said in a news release. “His Hall of Fame broadcasting career was intertwined with generations of our athletes, coaches, administration and fans and positively impacted all whom he touched. Our thoughts and prayers are with his wife Sue, son Chuck, and daughter, Kim.”

On Feb. 21, 2013, WKU unveiled a banner for Strader in the rafters of E.A. Diddle Arena. He remains the only person honored by banner who wasn’t a WKU athlete or coach.

Strader, a Barren County native, grew up near Hiseville, according to WKU Athletics. He began attending WKU sporting events with his father in the 1940s, when he was 10 years old.

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