PV's Turner named finalist for coaching award

Coach is entering his 18th season as leader of boys, girls track and field teams at Farmington school

Karl Schneider
kschneider@daily-times.com
Piedra Vista High School track and field head coach Mark Turner named a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's Coach of the Year Award for boys track and field.
  • Turner has won two state titles during his tenure at PV and coached numerous individual champions.
  • Turner was nominated by Buster Mabrey at the New Mexico High School Coaches Association.
  • Turner is the nominee for Region 8, which includes six Western states.

FARMINGTON — Piedra Vista track and field coach Mark Turner has had a great career with the Panthers.

Entering his 18th season as the coach for the PV boys and girls teams, Turner boasts an impressive résumé. He has won two state titles — the boys claimed the 4A title in 2013 and the girls won the 5A title last season — while coaching numerous individual state champions and sending many athletes on to compete at the collegiate level.

Turner can now add another line to his list of accomplishments after being named a finalist for the National High School Athletic Coaches Association's Coach of the Year Award for boys track and field.

"Buster Mabrey at the New Mexico High School Coaches Association put my name in, and for some reason, they chose me as one of the top eight, and I have no idea why," Turner said. "It all comes back to how hard these kids work and the coaches I get to work with."

Piedra Vista High School track and field coach Mark Turner talks to his athletes Wednesday during practice at the school track in Farmington.

Turner has always been quick to pass the credit for his teams' success to his assistant coaches for preparing the athletes and to the athletes for their performances. But they're all quick to throw the credit back to Turner — even if he prefers they keep the praise for themselves.

"He's a coach's coach," said Jared Howell, who has been coaching with Turner for 16 years. "People want to work under him and work for him, and the kids are loyal to him. That all breeds into the success he's had. You don't have that success if you don't believe in and trust your coach. He's got a bunch of kids who go out of their way to come by and see coach Turner. That's really a great measure of what kind of impact you've had on kids."

When PV was founded in the late 1990s, the track team consisted of 12 athletes — eight boys and four girls. This season, the two teams combine to list 120 kids on the rosters, something Howell said is due in part to Turner's coaching style and the loyalty the athletes have to their coach.

Piedra Vista High School track and field coach Mark Turner works with his pole vaulters Wednesday during practice at the school track in Farmington.

Turner naturally passes the credit to just about everyone else in San Juan County.

"Track and field in San Juan County is alive and well, and it's because of the competition we get from Aztec and Bloomfield, Farmington, Kirtland Central, Shiprock and even the small schools like (Navajo) Prep. Those guys know how to run a program," Turner said. "You have to follow along with what they do, and not just follow what they do, but emulate what they do."

Piedra Vista High School track and field coach Mark Turner, center, is described by longtime assistant coach Jared Howell as "a coach's coach."

Turner is one of eight finalists for the award. The NHSACA is divided into eight regions with one coach from each region selected as a finalist. Turner is the finalist for Region 8, which is made up of New Mexico, Arizona, California, Utah, Nevada and Hawaii.

The Coach of the Year Award will be announced during the NHSACA Annual Coaches' Convention in June.

Karl Schneider is the sports editor for The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4648.