Matt Turner has been selling his vision of the Pioneer program since being hired as Warren County High School football coach in March. On Thursday, it was Noon Rotary’s turn to hear his sales pitch.
Turner spoke at length in front of a packed crowd about his Pioneer pride, how he envisions the future of football locally and what to expect this fall.
A native of Warren County who got his first taste of football in a Pioneer uniform, Turner wants to make sure everybody knows the program is in the hands of home-grown coaches.
“We have a special thing here. Every person on my staff has put on the Pioneer jersey,” said Turner. “I didn’t go looking other places for my staff. There are quality coaches right here.”
Fans are hoping Turner, the fourth coach in seven years, can start stirring the Pioneers in the right direction. Warren County hasn’t finished with a winning record since 1990, a fact not lost of the new coach.
“I’ve been telling the kids, it’s only a matter of time before somebody in Warren County turns that page. This is our 51st year – why can’t it be us?,” said Turner.
Turner is replacing Tom Moore, who served as coach for four years before taking a job at Hillwood High School in February. Before Moore, Scott Smith (2014) and Tommy Johnson (2010-13) were at the helm. For people wondering what will make Turner different, the new coach has an answer.
“Those guys all knew football, but they didn’t know Warren County. I know Warren County,” said Turner. “What this program needs is consistency.
While he knows people will look at the results to access his performance, he’s serving as the judge and jury for his team.
“I’ll be judged by the scoreboard, but my players will be judged by me,” said Turner. “We can win every game we play because winning is relative. If they’re doing what I ask them to do and perform at the level I set, then that’s a win for me.”
Turner, joined by WCMS coach Ben Matheney, presented a united front not always seen locally. Both coaches are working to install the same offenses and defenses at both levels. In time, Turner says he hopes to work with the youth programs as well.
For now, he’ll tackle what he feels is his first goal.
“My No. 1 job is building young men. I want to try to build bridges for them the same way bridges were built for me,” said Turner. “We only have one football team in Warren County and it’s the Pioneers.”
Football season will kick off in 28 days with a home game Friday, Aug. 23 against DeKalb County.
An interview recorded following Noon Rotary featuring Turner, sports editor Jeffery Simmons and WCPI correspondent Bill Zechman will run next week on WCPI 91.3 FM