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Carson-Newman head football coach Mike Turner announces retirement

Turner was named head coach in 2016 after the late Ken Sparks' retirement.

JEFFERSON CITY, Tenn. — Carson-Newman head coach Mike Turner announced his retirement on Monday afternoon. 

Turner coached at Carson-Newman for 35 years, working as an offensive line coach, offensive coordinator and even chief fundraiser before taking over as head coach on Nov. 15, 2016, after the retirement of the late Ken Sparks. 

"The verse I read this morning is Isaiah, 26:4. It says, 'Trust in the Lord forever because the Lord is an everlasting rock,'" Turner said to begin his press conference.

An emotional Turner spoke about his many years at Carson-Newman, what the school meant to him and what the players meant to him.

Turner graduated from Carson-Newman in 1973, playing center for the Eagles, helping Carson-Newman reach its first national championship in 1972, where the Eagles finished as the runner-up.

As a head coach, Turner led the Eagles to a 24-10 record over three seasons. In his final season, making it to the second round of the playoffs before losing to Lenoir-Rhyne at the end of November. It was the first playoff appearance for Carson-Newman since 2015, the program's first playoff win since 2013.

Carson-Newman will begin a search for a new head coach, looking both internally and externally, said Vice President of Athletics Matt Pope.

"We will be expedient, but we'll not be hasty," Pope said.

As for what kind of coach the program is looking for, Pope made it clear, it has as much to do with what they bring to the table off the field as well as on it.

"A person of integrity, someone who is not unwilling to share their Christ-likeness," Pope said.

As for his advice for the next head coach, whomever it may be, Turner kept it simple.

"It's a privilege to coach at Carson-Newman, it's like kids, we tell them it's a privilege to play here, and I believe in my heart it's a privilege to coach here. And make sure you cherish it, make sure you keep it as a privilege and it doesn't get to be about you, but it gets to be about the honor it is to be a coach here."

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