Alan Turner named new track and field and cross country head coach
Observer Staff Report | Friday, July 18, 2014
Alan Turner, who served as Notre Dame’s associate track and field coach the last two seasons, has been promoted to the role of head coach for the University’s track and field and cross country teams, the University announced Friday.
Turner joined the Notre Dame staff in September 2010 as an assistant coach and was promoted to the position of associate head coach in October 2012.
“Alan has earned this assignment based on his contributions to our program over the past four seasons,” Notre Dame Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick said in a press release Friday. “He has an outstanding reputation in the track and field community, the coaching honors he has received are based on the top-notch quality of his work — and his promotion has been widely applauded by our team members.”
Turner will replace Joe Piane, who retired in May after 39 seasons at the helm of the Irish track and field and cross country programs.
“I learned from Joe when to push certain buttons,” Turner said to UND.com. “When to be really firm to athletes and when to back off. When to push them hard and when to ease up. When to be the disciplinarian and when to be that comforting hand. I learned how to just keep options open and how to wear multiple hats as a head coach.”
In his four years on the Irish staff, Turner has coached seven ACC and 17 Big East conference champions, as well as 18 first-team All-Americans. In this past season, he coached four ACC champions and 12 first-team All-Americans and was named a regional assistant women’s coach of the year by the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association.
“What I learned, not only in these past four years but since I’ve started coaching, is patience,” Turner said. “So many times, when an athlete doesn’t get it right or doesn’t execute with the effort that you thought, you want to hammer them and get on them.
“But track is a process. You do a lot of training for more than 40 weeks. So I know it’s not always going to be perfect on day one, or great on day two.”
Before arriving at Notre Dame, Turner spent five seasons at Southern Illinois, where he coached the men’s and women’s sprint and hurdle squads and the relay teams. Prior to that job, he served two seasons as an assistant coach at Proviso East High School in Maywood, Ill.
Turner graduated in 1992 from Indiana, where he was a three-time All-American in track and field for the Hoosiers. Turner won five Big Ten titles and served as a three-time captain for the Hoosiers.
“I hope [the student-athletes will be] excited,” Turner said. “Certainly, I hope the sprinters and hurdlers will be, because they’ve seen success. But if you ask the others in the other event groups, I’m engaged with al the kids. So I’m going to bring a lot of energy, a lot of excitement — we’re going to have a lot of fun.”
In a video interview with WatchND, Turner said that he is looking to add a distance coach to his staff and that he hopes his selection will be finalized in the next six or seven days.