Oak Harbor football coach steps down after 11 seasons

Jay Turner posted a 70-39 record and helped the Wildcats become one of the top teams in Wesco 3A.

By Jim Waller / Whidbey News-Times

Oak Harbor High School football coach Jay Turner is stepping down after 11 seasons at the helm.

“I decided I needed a break and to be able to spend more time with my family,” Turner said. “It definitely was not an easy decision, as I still continue to love coaching.”

Turner, who became Oak Harbor’s head coach in 2008 after being an assistant in the program since 1996, posted a 70-39 record and helped the Wildcats become one of the strongest programs in Wesco 3A. He guided Oak Harbor to a shared Wesco 3A North title, six second-place league finishes and a pair of state playoff appearances.

Turner said he’s most proud of the connections he made with players and coaches.

“It really has been a lot of fun, and I have really enjoyed getting to know the athletes outside of the classroom,” he said.

Turner said he will miss many things about coaching football.

“Motivating high school kids, getting 75 kids to all be on the same page and to give full effort all of the time, seeing kids improve and do things that they didn’t think they could do, coaching with a great group of assistant coaches, making adjustments during a game, much like a chess match,” he said.

“But probably what I will miss the most is seeing the looks on 75 high school kids after a tough win on a Friday night. There is nothing like it.”

Turner said this is just a break, and that he’s likely to make his way back into the sport.

“I think I will return at some point in the not-too-distant future,” he said. “Whether it’s a head coach or an assistant ninth-grade coach, who knows? But I don’t think my football coaching career is over.”

Turner said he will continue to coach the Oak Harbor track and field team.

“I would like to thank Nicki Luper for hiring me as the head coach, Jeff Stone and Dick Devlin for hiring me in Oak Harbor (and) the Pud Crew (assistants) for all of the work they have put into the Wildcat football program,” Turner said. “And most importantly, I would like to thank my wife for allowing me to follow my dream for all of these years.”

On Tuesday, Oak Harbor athletic director Jerrod Fleury said the process to find Turner’s successor would begin soon.

“We hope to have the job posted within the next week,” Fleury said.

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