I want to rebrand the whole Pioneer image and create a new aura around the program.Matt Turner
The search is over.
Matt Turner will be the 15th coach in Warren County football history, and the man to lead the Pioneers as they embark on 50 years of football this fall.
Turner was announced Monday, ending a search which began Feb. 12 when Tom Moore resigned following four years as the leader of the Pioneers. Turner was there every step of the way with Moore, having been a Warren County assistant for nine years.
Turner is chomping at the bit to take over the program he’s been dedicated to since his playing days in the mid-1990s.
“I have wanted this job ever since I put on a Pioneer jersey and helmet back in seventh grade,” said Turner. “It feels good. I’m excited to get to work.”
Warren County High School athletic director Todd Willmore gave Turner a ringing endorsement. Turner emerged from over 25 applicants to be the favorite among a panel of selectors, which also included WCHS principal Jimmy Walker, Director of Schools Bobby Cox and School Board member James Bennett.
“Matt is a tireless worker and will model the behavior he expects,” said Willmore in a statement (see the full statement online). “Matt's ability to motivate, encourage and affirm young people is evident. ”
Turner sold his vision for the program, which he feels needs to be renovated in all phases. He started by painting his new office, just step one in a grand overhaul he wants to oversee.
“I want to re-brand the whole Pioneer image and create a new aura about the program,” said Turner. “It already started with the coach’s office. I worked on it first. I want kids to see, feel, smell and know a change is coming and they’re going to be a part of it.”
Turner is hopeful to enhance the outlook of the future by building a freshman program. He’s not trying to shortcut the process either.
“I want a whole freshman staff with a freshman locker room,” said Turner. “I want that team to have a full schedule. I don’t want to cherry pick certain players for Friday night. I want them to learn and grow as a group.”
It’s just one of many ideas Turner hopes to employ to start changing the culture in Warren County.
Even though Turner’s eye for the future made him a standout candidate, he’s not throwing in the towel for next season. Turner isn’t backing down from the challenges of Class 6A football.
“There’s no reason we shouldn’t be competitive next year,” said Turner. “We have 2,000 students in our school. My job is to get those kids out and put an honorable product on the field.”
Turner is still working through staff evaluations. He’s hopeful some who may have applied will join his staff, though he knows one person he’s worked alongside the last few years in the trenches won’t be along for the ride.
“Ben Matheney (offensive line coach last season) is one I’ve lost but also gained. I think he’s going to help us being over the WCMS program,” said Turner. “I’m evaluating right now what we have on staff. I want people in this for the same reason I am.
“Football is part of a rich culture in the community. We have a lot of great coaches I’d like to see come into the program.”
It won’t be until August 23, when the Pioneers kick off at home against DeKalb County, to see if Turner can begin to turn the tide. Until then, he’s hopeful the team, and the community, will buy in behind him.
“I believe in my heart we can beat people,” said Turner. “Being successful is all relative – how will we define success? I’ve witnessed the things we haven’t been doing, so I know where we can improve. I’m here to win games – like every coach – and I’m here to build a program we all deserve in Warren County.”