Story by Bryan Edwards, Staff writer
The Murray State Athletic Department announced in Wednesday Rechelle Turner would take the helm and become the 13th Head Coach in Murray State women’s basketball history.
Turner said she is excited for the opportunity to be able to coach Division-1 basketball.
“It’s exciting to be able to take on a new challenge of coaching in my hometown,” Turner said. “Murray State is an amazing place of higher education and has a commitment to excellence and to be apart of that is a second-to-none opportunity to me.”
The Racers finished 15-14 last season and missed the OVC Tournament. Turner said she expects a change in culture around women’s basketball at Murray State and her expectations are high.
“Winning is contagious,” Turner said. “We’re going to go at it on day one expecting to bring this team to the level of excellence that Murray State deserves.”
Before accepting the job at Murray State, Turner coached the Murray High School Lady Tigers for 21 seasons. Turner has a 460-178 record with Murray High. She has won eight Coach of the Year awards and also been inducted into the Marshall County Hall of Fame.
Turner has led the Lady Tigers to the All-A 1st Region Championship 13 times, back-to-back KHSAA Sweet Sixteen semifinal appearances and one state championship.
Turner said she won’t change the way she coaches as she moves from high school to college.
“The championship culture that was built at Murray High will be built at Murray State,” Turner said. “We will have the same foundation and the same coaching pillars and we will build a program that is as good as any in the country.”
Athletic Director Allen Ward praised Turner for her passion when coaching on the floor.
“She is a perfect fit for this job,” Ward said. “Rachelle is a constant professional. She knows what it takes to win and know what it means to be a champion. She is an individual that can lead this program to new heights.”
Turner said she believes that building relationships with her players is the key to being a successful team.
“21 years of head coaching has taught me that there is nothing more important than relationships,” Turner said. “The players on the Murray State women’s basketball program will be taught that they matter. They will learn that they have leadership they can trust and they will find that they will be valued as players but will also find out that no number of points or rebounds will ever outweigh their value as human beings. Relationships through faith and family will become the foundation of Murray State women’s basketball.”
Lydia Grogan played for Turner at Murray High and she said her favorite thing about playing for her was the relationships she built with her players.
“Whenever she wasn’t coaching you would forget that she was your coach,” Grogan said. “We were family and she did everything for us but she also pushed us when she knew we weren’t at our best.”
Turner has already hired a coaching staff in Monica Evans, Amber Guffey and Aubrey Reese. Reese served as an assistant coach for the Racers on former coach Rob Cross’ staff.
Ward said the hiring of Turner was one of the most comfortable decisions he has made as Athletic Director and thinks highly of her.
“She’s a good enough coach to be able to see how the team fits her system but she’s also a good enough coach that she can fit her system within the team that she has,” Ward said. “She’s an outstanding coach and I feel great about the direction we are headed and where we will be in the next few years.”
Turner said she is beginning the recruiting process right away.
“We have to bring in players that fit into our program and can take it to where we want to be,” Turner said. “We are going to hit the floor running with recruiting because it’s vital to success in college basketball.”
Turner said that practices for the women’s team will be open and encourages the fans to see the team practice.