"It's All About The Game"

Steve Turner named Gatorade Coach of the Year






Robert Stephens, Featured Reporter

Turner's success is being recognized.


February 16, 2017 - Steve Turner head basketball coach of Gonzaga College High School will be named National High School Coach of the Year by the Gatorade Corporation which has been acknowledging high school athletes for the past 30 years. The award ceremony will take place on July 12th in Hollywood, CA. It is the first time Gatorade has awarded a national coach of the year.

Turner, entering his 12th year as head coach at the Northwest school. Turners most successful team was his 2004 which finished the season at 34-1 and the only Gonzaga team in the history of the school to win the WCAC, City Title, and Alhambra tournament.

Some of Turners athletes over the years have been Tyler Thornton (Duke), Ian Hummer (Princeton), Max Kenyi (Harvard) Nate Britt (North Carolina), Oliver Ellison (Howard), Bryant Crawford (Wake Forest), Kris Jenkins (Villanova), Jordan Abdul-Raoof (Cornell), Cedrick Lindsay (Richmond) and Sam Miller (Dayton) just to name a few.

Steve Turner's success has been prodigious.

“I am so honored to be recognized by the people at Gatorade but more important to me the next night I will be at the ESPY’s and Kris (Jenkins) Villanova will be nominated for Basketball Shot of the Year", he said, while multitasking, selling sodas, icing a player's injury and conferring with parents. "The Gatorade people are sending my wife and me to the ceremony”.

While I was conducting this interview the building was active with young student athletes and campers and Kevin Hogan former Stanford quarterback stopped by to say hello, being quite the gentlemen I might add, donning his Rose Bowl shorts. Most of the campers didn’t recognize him which I found amusing to a certain degree but that that was fine with him.

"How long have you been here at Gonzaga" was the question posed his former coach, Turner. "I have been here 18 years”, replied turner, who also shared "I am always around young people (including his son), developing and molding the next generation" as being what keeps his fire burning. Ultimately "Using the sport, it's not just about basketball but motivating good students and building men. Letting them grow through sports" is motivation.

This past season, a 24-10 affair, ended with the Eagles' 105-102 triple overtime loss to H.D. Woodson for DCSAA not bad with your battle against H.W. Woodson (105-102 triple ot loss) in the city title game. The game still stung, leaving Turner to sigh, before noting "It didn’t quite end the way we wanted to but my team was always in it”.

That contest, held in D.C.'s Verizon Center had a different feel than your average high school game. The venue, home to Georgetown's Hoyas and Washington's Wizards of the National Basketball Association, is certainly a departure for the Eagles.

Did Turner sense Verizon Center was a challenge to his players?

“No, they are not in awe" responded the coach, "they have played in some summer tournaments and during the season in big arenas, so it's not something new to them”.

When last I interviewed Turner, close to four years ago, Turner praised the talents of Jenkins, the present 'Nova standout, his Gonzaga coach thought programs were selling him short. He still feels that way.

"A lot of people were caught up in his weight and how he would predict at the next level” opined Turner. "He dominated the best league in the country (WCAC) for two and a half years. Played tough for four years and was always able to get to the basket when he wanted to. I knew he was going to be good”.

Does Turner feel vindicated, given Jenkins' success, including a dramatic, NCAA national championship game winning shot last year?

Downplaying himself, which is Turner's wont, he replied "No not at all. Coach Wright saw something in him and I’m just happy for him and Kris".

Speaking of that 'Nova vs UNC tilt for national title hardware, Turner had guys on both sides of the ball, with Nate Britt lining up for the Tarheels. Did the coach wear a two sided shirt?

"No, but I did know I couldn't lose" chuckled Turner, who watches many games knowing one of his alumni could be a factor. For the record the following Eagles have been named Gatorade D.C. Player of the Year, indicating an eight year Gonzaga stranglehold on that award:

2008- Max Kenyi
2009- Ian Hummer
2010- Tyler Thornton
2011- Nate Britt
2012- Kris Jenkins
2013- Kris Jenkins
2015 Bryant Crawford
2016- Chris Lykes


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