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The Harvard football team’s eventful offseason took another unexpected turn Tuesday when it was confirmed that offensive line coach and run-game coordinator Jim Turner would be leaving the program for a similar position with Division I-A Temple.
Turner, who in his three-year tenure with the Crimson presided over one of the top running attacks in the Ivy League, was perhaps the most respected coach on the staff. An imposing presence on the sidelines and in the locker room, his no-nonsense coaching approach earned him admiration from offensive and defensive players alike.
“It was a great pleasure and a privilege for me to play under Coach Turner,” said senior tackle Jamil Soriano, now an NFL prospect. “Personally, I can attribute most of my success on the football field to his coaching.”
A former Marine, Turner played fullback at Boston College, where he remains the only walk-on captain in the history of the Eagles’ football program. Prior to Harvard, he also coached at Northeastern and Division I-A Louisiana Tech as an offensive line assistant.
The announcement of Turner’s departure marks the latest event in a tumultuous few months for the gridders. In addition to losing a large portion of its offense to graduation, the Crimson also saw the departure of three other top assistants, including offensive coordinator Jay Mills, formerly the senior assistant on the staff. Then, on Feb. 14, the program was again shaken by the news that Darren Gallup, a recruit from the Belmont Hill School, had died in a car accident.
The news of Turner’s departure, while not necessarily the most devastating of the offseason, may well be the most noticeable come next fall.
“His energy in practice was contagious,” said junior tackle Joe Mujalli. “The football program simply won’t be the same without him.”
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