Bob Turner was approved as the new Dowagiac baseball coach Wednesday night by the Dowagiac Board of Education. (Daily News Photo/John Eby)

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Turner new baseball coach

Published 8:44pm Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Dowagiac baseball program will be getting its third coach in four seasons.

And like the last two hires, Bryan Henry and Fred Bournay, the new Chieftain baseball coach has ties to the Chieftain program.

Bob Turner was hired Wednesday night by the Dowagiac Board of Education as the varsity baseball coach.

Turner, a 1982 graduate, played baseball, basketball and golf at the varsity level for two years. He went to Lake Michigan College to play baseball, but decided to return to Dowagiac and further his education at Southwestern Michigan College, where he played on the golf team.

Turner is a 2009 graduate of Western Michigan University, where he earned his teaching degree. He is currently the student advocate at Kincheloe and Sister Lakes.

Turner is no stranger to the current Dowagiac players, having been a varsity assistant coach for the past two season. He assisted Henry at the JV level three seasons ago.

Turner applied late in the process due to the fact that his advocate duties run until 5 p.m. Monday through Tuesday.

“I was interested initially, but because of my teaching situation it really didn’t work out,” Turner said. “But we got the details worked out.”

He will be joined on the staff by two more former Chieftains — John Scanlon and Chris Cox. Both have players on the current squad.

Scanlon after a standout career at Dowagiac played baseball at Indiana University. Cox played at both Eastern Michigan and Grand Valley State. Cox has also coached varsity baseball and football at Marcellus High School.

Turner will be greeted with good numbers when the team officially begins working out March 12. He said that an unofficial sign-up sheet had 37 names on it. He also noted that it did not include several current Chieftain basketball players, whom he expects to come out once their season is complete.

“The last few years we have been shaking the trees just to get enough players to have a JV team,” Turner said.

“We are not that far off. We just need to keep working hard and doing things the right way. We lost a lot of talent in that group that just graduated, but there is still plenty of talent here.”

Turner thought that team chemistry will play a big role in Dowagiac’s success on the field.

“That’s the one thing these guys have,” he said. “They are going to be willing to do what it takes to make the team better. They are going to be willing to put the team first.”

Turner feels that a plus to his hiring is that the players know who he is.

“I have been around the program for four years,” he said. “So we are going to be able to have some familiarity going. I am the third coach in four years, but they all know who I am. At least I have been around.”

Turner said the one draw back to taking the job is that he will not be able to watch his daughter Kristyn, a junior, play softball her final two years.

“I’m going to miss seeing her play, but if I didn’t think she could handle it I wouldn’t have applied for the job,” Turner said.

His son Jason is currently playing baseball at Aquinas College. His wife Becky teaches at Dowagiac Union High School.

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