Bearden soccer icon Eric Turner retires after 18 years

As another school year comes to an end so too does the reign of one of the most successful coaches in Bearden athletics history.

Eric Turner has stepped down as head coach of the Bearden soccer program after compiling an impressive résumé during his 18 total years of coaching the boys and girls teams.

Starting in 1996, Coach Turner spent one year as boys assistant coach before taking over the head coaching job, which he occupied for 17 years. He also spent two years as assistant and 16 years as head coach on the girls team.

With such a long tenure, it is reasonable to think that he has put together an impressive record, which is easily supported by the statistics. He totaled 531 wins and just 151 losses and finished with the records 279-78-33 for boys and 255-73-35 for girls.

He won five state titles between the two programs, and the boys were crowned national champions in 2002.

“Coach Turner is pretty much a legend at Bearden,” junior midfielder Ian Schomer said. “The shape of Bearden soccer was formed under his leadership and with him leaving, it’s like a huge part of the team is being taken away.”

Coach Turner built up a reputation of ruling the soccer field with an iron fist through rigorous practices and brutal conditioning. He demanded respect and required a level of maturity from each and every one of the players.

“Often times we didn’t like it at all, but we knew there was a reason he worked us so hard,” sophomore forward Jameson Elmore said. “It helped us mature and strengthened us physically and both are very valuable assets on the soccer field.”

After 18 years at Bearden, it isn’t surprising that Coach Turner has grown attached to the school and the people over the years and will miss them deeply.

“Bearden has meant everything to me during my tenure,” Turner said. “I have been able to coach and develop lasting relationships with some of the best kids and families that Knoxville has to offer.

“It was an absolute honor to work with such great players and parents.”

Coach Turner hopes to be remembered as someone who gave his entire heart to Bearden High School and his teams and players. He hopes that he gave parents and players an investment that they can be proud of for the rest of their lives.

His hard work and the time he put into the team is reflected by the success the team showed under his leadership, leaving some big shoes to fill.

“Coach Turner was like the definition of Bearden soccer, so it will just be very different having someone else as our coach,” Elmore said.

Turner isn’t leaving without a few bittersweet feelings.

“I will miss watching players develop to heights they never thought they could achieve,” Turner said. “I will miss the special impact that the players had on me and the relationships we built.

“And I will especially miss Bearden High School which was my home for 18 years.”