Leaving his mark(s)… Former Elizabethton resident continues to leave unforgettable impressions
BY IVAN SANDERS
The Elizabethton Cyclones Sports Hall of Fame will be having their induction ceremony for new members on January 21 at 6 p.m. and the new class of inductees will include someone who wasn’t an accomplished athlete like Jason Witten or Johnny Mills, but he has taken his God-given expertise to new heights and it all began at Elizabethton High School.
Danny Wilson will be one of the Class of 2021 who will hear his name called and join a long list of Cyclones who have made an impact at the school.
For Wilson, it started in 1979 when as a reserve infielder Coach Hack Hyder asked Wilson to take his newly designed logo — Tuffy as Cyclone Nation knows it today, and hand paint that design on the side of the team’s baseball helmets.
Thus, Tuffy was born at the hand of Wilson and that was just the beginning for the young man that over the years has designed and illustrated some of the most intrinsic prints, renderings, drawings, and posters that many will quickly recognize.
Wilson played baseball during his junior and senior years as a Cyclone as well as playing basketball his freshman year. While a student at EHS, Wilson also was on the school newspaper staff and did illustrations for the Elizabethton Star.
While at the University of Tennessee, Wilson designed the EHS Cyclone logo on the front of the press box at Brown-Childress Stadium in 1981. He also worked as an illustrator for the Knoxville Journal from 1983 to 1984.
He graduated from UT with honors.
From 1996 to 2012, Wilson’s handiwork was on the University of Tennessee football tickets. He also designed the Vols basketball tickets from 2003 to 2012.
That was just a small glimpse of the extent of Wilson’s work as his illustrations also include the following:
– “Power T” Jumbotron design for Neyland Stadium from 2000 to 2010
– Official 1998 National Champions poster for Tennessee football.
– Tennessee Smokey mascot for licensed merchandise.
– The Thompson-Boling Arena basketball court design used from 2003 to 2015 as well as “The Summit” signature design on the court.
– Concept renderings for Thompson-Boling Arena renovations in 2007.
– Neyland Stadium signage and map.
– VFL – Vol for Life logo.
– Classic Vol posters of former greats for Coca-Cola and Food City.
– Portraits for the U.T. Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Media Center.
– Portraits of John Ward, Lindsey Nelson, and Bobby Denton.
– Official posters for Chick-fil-A games in Atlanta which included Alabama vs Florida State, Tennessee vs Georgia Tech, and Auburn vs Washington.
– The Battle at Bristol poster for the Tennessee vs Virginia Tech game at Bristol Speedway.
– Lots of Orange children’s book about a trip to a U.T. game.
– Mural in the Barclay Center in Brooklyn, N.Y.
– Troy University mural inside the football locker room.
– Worked with former head football coach Derek Dooley on U.T. Athletics Manual.
– Concept rendering for U.T. basketball locker rooms/ team training area/ film room.
– Architectural concepts for Neyland Stadium, Thompson-Boling Arena, Lindsey Nelson Baseball Stadium, Sherri Parker Lee Softball Stadium, Goodfriend Tennis Center, Upper-Level Concept, Neyland Stadium Terrace Level.
– Updated the EHS Cyclone Tuffy for the new Citizens Bank Football Stadium plus the mural and signage for the stadium.
– Life is Orange and White Gameday Map
– Rendering for Haslem Field — the Vols football team’s three full-sized football practice fields.
And while Wilson’s work seems extensive to football, it’s just the tip of the iceberg of what he has done outside the world of sports.
Wilson also has non-sport clients in New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles.
He did a concept rendering for Taylor Swift’s Meet and Greet room with Diet Coke. In 2000, he worked for presidential candidate Ross Perot.
If visiting the Hoover Dam near Las Vegas, one will see a mural that Wilson is responsible for along with Supercomputer graphics at Oak Ridge National Laboratories.
Back on the sports side, Wilson was commissioned to create concept renderings for presentation to the following companies or conferences.
– The Arena Football League.
– ACC, Big Ten Network, CBS, NBA, Ticketmaster, ESPN, Peyton Manning, US Open, and Sports Illustrated.
And finally, some of the non-sports clientele includes Amazon, Apple, Channel One, Disney, Coca-Cola, The Edison Project, HGTV, History Channel, Lowe’s, Mercedes, Microsoft, Peoples Republic of China, Six Flags, TVA, and Johnny Cash.
Wilson is the lead elder at Fellowship Chapel Church in Knoxville and resides in Lenoir City. He is married to Jennifer and the Wilsons have four children — Leah, Lukas, Wyeth, and Eli.
With all of Wilson’s success, it just goes to prove that someone from a small town like Elizabethton who has been given a talent that comes from the Creator of the Universe can spread their wings and soar to unlimited heights.
Wilson is just one example but a great one that shows what hard work and determination can accomplish once one’s mind is set to doing it.