The Carson-Newman Athletics Department named offensive coordinator Mike Turner as the football program’s 18th head coach on Tuesday afternoon.

The news comes a day after 37-year head coach Ken Sparks announced his retirement.

"In football, we speak of the importance of good handoffs. No fumbles," said Carson-Newman President Dr. Randall O'Brien in a release. “When replacing a 37-year coaching legend, how important is the handoff?”

In three separate stints with the Carson-Newman, Turner coached with Sparks for 33 seasons.

The Eagles averaged 38.4 points and 330.6 rushing yards per game since 2007. The Eagles have produced an All-American offensive lineman seven times during the eight-season span.

Turner is a 1973 graduate of Carson-Newman, where he played center and served as a member of the 1972 NAIA Champion Bowl runner-up team. The 1972 team was the first Carson-Newman team to reach a national title game.

Turner coached the offensive line at Carson-Newman from 1980-1984, helping the Eagles win two NAIA National Championships.

After a stint as offensive coordinator for the University of North Alabama, Turner returned as the Eagles’ offensive coordinator from 1987-1992. Turner then went to take over the football program at Science Hill School in 1992 before returning to the sidelines again for Carson-Newman in 1995.

Turner was named the AFCA Division II Assistant Coach of the Year in 2003.