Murray coach and her husband on same basketball wavelength
BY MIKE FIELDS
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS – Travis Turner has been doing radio coverage of Murray High School girls’ basketball for a long time, but he had his first near-death experience Friday afternoon as he described the Tigers’ stunning 65-56 upset of defending champion and nationally ranked Butler in the quarterfinals of the St. Elizabeth Healthcare/KHSAA Sweet Sixteen in BB&T Arena.
“I thought I was going to die when I was on the air,” Turner said. “I’ve never been more emotional during a broadcast in my life.”
That’s because he was watching his wife, Rechelle, coach Murray’s girls to one of the biggest victories in the program’s history.
That’s right. The coach of the team is married to the voice of the team, and it’s a marriage made in hoops heaven.
Travis and Rechelle were high school sweethearts, even though they attended rival schools in far Western Kentucky.
Travis played basketball for Calloway County; Rechelle Cadwell played for Marshall County.
Travis never got to the Sweet Sixteen with the Lakers, but Rechelle went to the state tournament every year of her career at powerhouse Marshall County. She earned all-state honors as as senior in 1991.
Travis and Rechelle were married in 2001.
Rechelle is in her 21st year coaching Murray. Her teams have won 459 games, including the All “A” small-school state title in 2016.
When Travis first got involved in radio by doing color commentary on Murray games for WNBS – “I couldn’t behave in the stands so they put a headset on me,” he said with a laugh. – some fans complained he was being too hard on his wife.
Now that he handles the more straight-forward play-by-play duties, he still tries to be objective. (And, yes, his wife sometimes listens to tapes of the games and critiques his performance.)
Travis said it’s difficult not to get caught up emotionally in what’s happening on the court.
“When things aren’t going well, it can be tough,” he said. “But if things are going well, the passion and excitement aren’t hard to come by.”
There was plenty of passion and excitement in the victory over Butler, which was ranked No. 1 in the state and No. 16 in the nation by USA Today.
Macey Turley, an unflappable point guard, led the way with 25 points. The 5-foot-7 junior hit 18 of 21 free throws. (The team made 27 of 35 from the line.)
Maddie Waldrop, a 6-2 senior, had 13 points and 9 rebounds for the Tigers. Alexandria Mayes, a junior, added 12 points.
Rechelle Turner was teary-eyed when the final buzzer sounded, and she was emotional in the post-game interview.
She noted that she and her husband have two sons, Cadwell (12) and Cade (7), “and I love them with all my heart.
“But I have 18 girls that I love with all my heart as well. It’s kind of like being their mother . . . and it’s just a proud moment for me to be able to see their dreams come true today.”
From the get-go, Murray took the fight to Butler, which was seeking its third state title in four years.
“We felt like if we could get our kids to believe in themselves enough, we could overcome,” Coach Turner said. “And that’s exactly what we did.
“I felt good about it from the tip. I could tell by the energy and body language of our kids that they were going to go toe-to-toe with the best team.”
When she was asked if it this was the biggest win in the program’s history, Turner said the All “A” title “was pretty near the top, but I’m going to tell you, this one is right there.
“To be able to go on the biggest stage in high school basketball and pull off what we did today is pretty special.”
After leaving the media room, Turner went back into the arena, gave her husband a hug, then sat down for her post-game interview with the voice of the Tigers.
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