OXFORD — Jake Turner understands his new job is a total rebuild.
That being said, the Hamilton High School graduate can barely contain his excitement when talking about the challenge ahead.
Turner was announced last week as the new boys basketball coach for the Brave. He’s replacing Bobby Jones, who departed after finishing 1-22 in his only season at Talawanda.
“This is a great opportunity at a great school with a great community,” Turner said. “I understand they haven’t had much success, but I feel I can bring stability to the program. I want to thank the hiring committee, the board members and the community of Oxford for giving me this chance.”
Turner will be the seventh coach in nine years at Talawanda, inheriting a team that has won only 12 Southwest Ohio Conference games the past seven years while compiling an overall record of 27-133.
“I know they have only won something like nine league games the past three years (actually eight), so we have some work to do,” Turner said. “The big thing I can offer is stability. I plan on being here for the long haul and getting this turned around.”
THS athletic director Wes Cole said the Brave had 28 applicants, interviewing five, and Turner stood out.
“We are excited to have Jake Turner as our new head basketball coach,” Cole said. “He is a young coach with lots of energy and excitement and will bring that to Talawanda. He’s very knowledgeable about the game and an extremely hard worker.
“(Turner) came highly recommended from many basketball sources in the area. We were looking for someone to come in and commit to our program and build positive relationships with our student-athletes K-12. We feel Coach Turner is a perfect fit for what we were looking for.”
A 2010 Hamilton graduate, Turner has spent the last nine years as an assistant under three different coaches for the Big Blue.
Turner was a volunteer coach for two years, served as JV assistant coach for two and the past five as either the head freshman or head JV coach under Sean Van Winkle and Kevin Higgins.
“My plan is to take bits and pieces from each coach I worked under and form my own plan,” said Turner, who was an assistant for Tim Robinson, Van Winkle and Higgins, and a player under Larry Allen. ”(Allen) is a mentor to me and he has really helped me out.”
In terms of strategy, Turner said it is too early to speculate on offensive strategy, but did say he won’t shy away from playing man-to-man as his teams have done at Hamilton.
“I want to bring energy and stability to the Talawanda boys basketball program,” Turner said. “I want guys who want to get after it and work hard all the time. I want the gym open all the time, and I want the guys in there taking advantage.”
Turner will maintain his job at Hamilton as Safe and Secure Schools Monitor, but hopes to have a job open up at Talawanda so he can be in the building.
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