By DR. DAVID DAVIS
Pearland head coach John Turner celebrated his 800th victory and his No. 10 state-ranked Lady Oilers swept the Alief Hastings Lady Bears giving Pearland a 3-0 district mark.
The Lady Oilers opened up district play with two straight victories over Alief Elsik (25-17, 25-10, 25-11) and Alief Taylor (25-7, 25-9, 25-12) before disposing of Hastings (25-7, 25-9, 25-12) to give Turner No. 800.
Turner is a native of Beaumont. He earned a degree in Education from Lamar University. He has been at the helm of the Pearland volleyball program since 1994. Before coming to Pearland High School, he was the former head coach at Channelview and Baytown Lee. He also served as an assistant at Lamar.
The influence Turner has had on the volleyball world has spanned more than just at the local level.
Turner has done an incredible job in fulfilling his vision of hosting the largest high school volleyball tournament in the nation as 80 teams invaded Pearland over a three-day span back in August vying for the title of the prestigious Adidas Texas Invitational.
The veteran coach, who is retiring from coaching after this season, will continue to teach for a few more years, but he won’t be removed from the world of volleyball. Christian Dunn will take over the reigns of the Pearland program beginning next year.
Under Turner’s leadership, the Houston Area Volleyball Coaches Association was organized four years ago and he was named the Executive Director of that organization which he will continue to lead.
He was also influential in getting the Texas Association of Volleyball Coaches organized this past year in which he will be the Executive Director of that organization so his plate will be full in the coming years.
But Turner’s influence he has had with hundreds of players has had special meaning.
“The most significance or appreciation that I have is to all the players from my past 32 years of coaching that have contributed to me being able to reach 800 victories,” Turner said. “In my 32 years of coaching, I have been blessed to not have had a losing season and I attribute that to my players buying into my philosophy/work ethic that I instill in my program from day one when they commit.”
The countless hours Turner spends coaching or leading the volleyball organizations has special meaning.
“My work ethic and dedication has been termed as either ‘all in’ or not at all!” Turner said. “I sometimes ask myself when I am physically and mentally drained why I do this to myself? I then look at what has yet to be accomplished and get right back to working/grinding to accomplish the goals set for each avenue I have taken on.
“I know some of my friends think I am crazy for committing so many hours to the sport of volleyball; but it is what drives me and I love seeing this sport grow at all levels, not just high school. I challenge myself every day to make the day better than the one before. I know there is so much more ahead of me after coaching; I plan to go to all the regions of the state to help our coaches grow through educational resources and just sharing experiences that could help them accomplish their dreams as a coach.”
Family has played an important part in Turner’s life as a coach and individual.
“My family has been a constant support system for me; they are my biggest supporters/fans,” Turner pointed out. “They believed in me when I took the position at Pearland and had visions of starting the current nation’s largest high school volleyball tournament and then also the state’s first stand-alone coaches association – TAVC.
“I would always have these larger than life ideas and they would never discourage me; they helped me believe that it was possible.”
As with coaches of all different sports, Turner had those that played a great role on his own life and career.
“I will never forget my basketball coach in high school – Coach Ezell,” Turner recalled. “He was a very tough coach, but loved teaching the game of basketball. I took that love and passion I learned from him and dove into the sport of volleyball in college.
“I attended camps and clinics throughout the nation picking the brains of some of the top college coaches while working their camps. I always wanted to find that edge over my colleagues, but also learning from them as well while coaching against them.”
Turner has an overall record of 800-304 (.725 winning percentage) and has never had a losing season. He is presently 645-250 at Pearland and counting.