SP alum named new coach for Ole Miss track & field

Published 6:06 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

Ole Miss track & field has added Morrie Turner as its new sprints and hurdles coach for the upcoming 2024-25 school year, head coach Connie Price-Smith announced Friday.

Turner – a native of nearby Batesville – owns a decade of experience coaching the sprints and hurdles in the collegiate ranks, including most recently at South Carolina in 2024 where he assisted in coaching one of the top sprints programs in the nation.

“I am excited to have Morrie join our staff and I am looking forward to working with him,” Price-Smith said. “He brings with him a wealth of experience and knowledge in the sprints and hurdles and the sport of track & field as a whole. Him being a Mississippi native as well as an experienced coach makes him a great addition to our Ole Miss family.”

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“As a native of the small town of Batesville, track and field has taken me around the world,” Turner said. “I’ve experienced places I could only dream of. I’ve had the privilege of doing amazing things with many people in this sport. Hoisting trophies, producing national champions and Olympians, and building lifelong relationships. Now, I have the opportunity to do all of those things right here at home. I’m incredibly thankful for our amazing head coach, Connie, for involving me in her strategic vision and commitment to excellence. I’m grateful for the chance to give back to my family, the community, and this great state. Go Rebs!”

Turner’s one season in Columbia was an eventful one, helping push the Gamecocks to two top-15 national team finishes thanks in large part to a powerful group of women’s sprinters he helped coach under head coach Tim Hall.

Specifically, Turner helped mentor the Gamecocks’ national title women’s 4×400-meter relay indoors of Zaya Akins, Jahnile Registre, Jayla Jamison and JaMeesia Ford that became the No. 5 relay in collegiate history at 3:26.05. In addition to the NCAA Indoor title, Turner coached the South Carolina 4×4 team to an SEC Indoor title, an SEC Outdoor runner-up finish and a sixth-place finish at the national outdoor meet.

Prior to South Carolina, Turner was an assistant coach and then an associate head coach at Alabama State, where he turned the Hornets into a SWAC powerhouse in just two seasons in 2022 and 2023. Turner had national success with eight NCAA qualifiers, 20 NCAA East Region qualifiers and four First-Team All-Americans with his fifth-place men’s 4×100-meter relay outdoors in 2023. But it was at the conference level where Turner’s Hornets did serious damage, winning eight conference titles, 47 SWAC medals and an astounding 285 points scored in just four total conference meets across 2022 and 2023.

Turner coached the aforementioned men’s 4×1 to the NCAA final in 2023, where they ran 38.56 to finish fifth for All-America honors – which at the time ranked the Hornets as the No. 16 men’s 4×1 in collegiate history. That year, Alabama State was the only non-Power 5 team in the country to qualify both a men’s 4×100 and 4×400-meter relay for the national meet in Austin, Texas.

Turner’s sprinters swept the 2023 SWAC Outdoor Championship in the 100-meter, 200-meter, 400-meter, 4×1 and the 4×4 – the only Division I school in the country to do so at their conference meet in 2023. Under his guidance, his sprinters accounted for 98 of the men’s 144 points at the SWAC Championship, leading the Hornets to their 58th outdoor SWAC title. He also coached 11 participants at the NCAA East Regional, the most qualifiers in Alabama State history. During the 2023 indoor season, Turner led the Hornets to sweeping both the men and women’s SWAC Indoor Championship, accomplishing four school records along the way. He also oversaw Taranique Alexander who was named SWAC Indoor Field Athlete of the Year.

Before his time at Alabama State, Turner served as the associate head coach at Coffeyville Community College, where he was named the USTFCCCA Central Region Coach of the Year in both 2020 and 2021. He successfully coached seven Region VI Conference Champions in his two-year stint, while also coaching the conference’s Field Athlete of the Meet in Henry Kiner. In 2021, his sprinters finished first, 2nd, third and fourth in the NJCAA 60-meter rankings, which had never been done before leading up to the National Championship. His 60m event group ran an average of 6.71, the fastest event squad in NJCAA history since the USTFCCCA began doing squad rankings.

Turner also spent time at Rogers State University (2014-19) where he built the track & field program from the ground up, coaching 29 Great-American Conference Champions and overseeing 113 All-Great-American Conference honors. Turner’s team achieved nine USTFCCCA South Central All-Regional honors and nine NCAA All-Americans between the indoor and outdoor seasons. By 2018, Rogers State ranked inside the NCAA Division II Top-25 rankings, thanks in large part to the sprints group.

Turner earned his associates in arts from Hinds Community College in 2011, later earning his bachelors in recreation administration from Oral Roberts in 2013. Turner wrapped up his education with a masters in sport administration from Concordia University-Irvine in 2019.

Turner has three sons with his wife, Ericka: Morrie (MJ), Maddox and Michael.

Morrie Turner Coaching Career • At a Glance
2024 – South Carolina – Assistant Coach
2023 – Alabama State – Associate Head Coach
2022 – Alabama State – Assistant Coach
2020-21 – Coffeyville Community College – Associate Head Coach
2014-19 – Rogers State – Assistant Coach

Morrie Turner Division I Coaching Career • By the Numbers
1 NCAA Title (2024 Indoor Women’s 4×400-Meter Relay)
12 First-Team All-Americans
17 NCAA Points Scored
16 NCAA Qualifiers
24 NCAA East Region Qualifiers
9 Conference Titles (1 SEC, 8 SWAC)
21 Conference Champions (4 SEC, 17 SWAC)
55 Conference Medalists (8 SEC, 47 SWAC)
305 Conference Points Scored (18 SEC, 285 SWAC)