Turner steps down as Dowagiac coach after five years

Published 1:14 pm Tuesday, July 2, 2024

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DOWAGIAC — Jason Turner built the Dowagiac girls basketball team into a consistent winner since taking over the program in 2019.

During his tenure, Turner led the Chieftains to their first district championship in 14 years as Dowagiac defeated South Haven 42-31 in 2022.

That team turned a 2-13 the first week of February. Turner, his staff and the players continued to work hard and earned the school’s first district championship since 2008.

This past season, Dowagiac finished with a 15-8 overall record, and finished third behind state powerhouses Brandywine and Buchanan, in the Lakeland Conference.

Turner is stepping down as the Chieftains’ head coach.

“I made the very very difficult decision to step away from coaching the Dowagiac girls varsity basketball team after a lot of thought and conversation with my family,” he said. “There is a big change coming to my family in October with our first child due to arrive. Although this is one factor that has played into my decision it is not the only one.”

Turner will also be furthering his education beginning in the fall.

“So, with my family growing and realizing I still have things I want to accomplish in my life I have decided it is best to step away because I do not feel I would be able to put the time and effort in that the girls deserve,” he said. “I am proud of what my teams and coaching staffs have been able to accomplish over my past five years as the head coach. I hope to see this program continue in the right direction.”

Turner did not rule out playing some role in helping that success continue, but was not sure what that might be or how far down the road it might be.

He is being replaced by former Dowagiac standout Craig Schau.

Turner began his coaching career as an assistant for Girls Basketball Coach Brent Nate, who he would replace five years ago.

His goals were to build the program from the ground up.

“I want to start building a younger program, so I am starting a third- through sixth-grade lead in Dowagiac for the girls,” he said after being hired. “I am pretty excited to bring that back to Dowagiac and to start building the program that way, as well as what we have built the past three years.”