Busters hire Pratt coach for track, X-country post
By ADAM HOLT
The Broncbusters have the athletes, are getting the new facility, and now, finally have a new head track and cross country coach.
Garden City Community College introduced its new coach, Ryan Turner, at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the Perryman Athletic Complex.
Turner comes from Pratt Community College, where he held the same position for one season. At Garden City, he inherits a cross country program that has been very successful at the national level over the past decade, and gets to oversee the revival of the track and field program.
"It's two challenges," Turner said. "The first challenge is to — I guess every job I've ever had, I always wanted to leave it better than the way I got it. Walking into a program like this, a top-five program in the nation perennially, the next step is to compete for national titles."
Turner said he believes any top-five team can win a title on a given day, and wants to keep the cross country program at a nationally competitive level.
He'll also be in charge of reviving track and field at Garden City.
"Second challenge is, now we're adding track and field," he said. "I'm a track coach; I love track. I can coach a 10K, an 8K cross-country kid, or I can coach a 100-meter, 200, decathlete, whatever. The second challenge is to get that thing off the ground, and get it to the same level as the cross country program is. That's a real exciting thing for me, not just the cross country, the whole picture of our program."
With a new track being built west of Tangeman Sports Complex, Turner will get a brand new facility to work with in building the track and field program.
"Any time a school comes in and drops $2.2 million on a facility, they're not doing it to get second place," Turner said. "So I'm excited about that. I think the future here is unbelievable. I've had a lot of positive responses across the state from high school coaches saying hey, I'm glad you got that position, we're glad they're bringing back track, and we want to send our kids. "
Turner also previously coached track and field and cross country as an assistant at the University of Houston, where he helped coach multiple athletes to all-conference honors in both sports.
"I think there were several things that stood out," GCCC athletic director Ryan Ruda said. "One was obviously that he's familiar with the NJCAA, the Jayhawk Conference. Along those lines, as far as what it takes to recruit, and eligibility, that definitely stands out. The other part of it is he has some Division I background, and connections-wise, recruiting-wise, definitely brings a lot of strength to the table."
A native of Holdenville, Okla., Turner coached at Cowley in Arkansas City prior to going to Houston. He competed in track and cross country while at Southwestern College in Winfield, qualifying for the national meet four times, and ran the 800 meters, 1,500 meters and 8,000 meters.
Turner has two daughters, Lauryn and Haylie Part of what he said attracted him to the job was that Garden City felt like a good place to raise a family. Having community support doesn't hurt, either.
"It's a sports town; they love their sports here," Turner said. "That to me is exciting, to come and work at a place that really cares about winning, really cares about the student athletes."
Without a doubt, I'm on the same page. I want to win. It's a good deal. I'm very excited, and very grateful and fortunate to be here."