When an opportunity comes along, there’s no guarantee it will last. Former Haslet Eaton head football coach Brad Turner had to make a decision when the chance to move over into athletics administration surfaced within the Northwest school district.
He took it. After two years of starting the program and then guiding the Eagles through their first varsity season, Turner accepted a position as the district’s coordinator for athletics and physical education.
Turner, 51, began on May 1. Eaton defensive coordinator Ellis Miller is serving as the program’s interim head coach.
“It happened really fast,” Turner said. “Because we’re at that time of year when you have to move quickly, the first thing you need to do is make sure that the players are the first priority. My hands are all over that program.”
Turner leaves coaching after 30 years including 20 as a head coach. Turner was 118-89 and took 14 teams to the playoffs. In 2016, the Eagles finished 3-7 and lost to White Settlement Brewer, 48-14, in the season finale in a game that determined a District 6-5A playoff berth. District coaches named him coach of the year.
The move fulfills a personal goal for Turner, who had been looking for the right opportunity. He and NISD director of athletics Joel Johnson had talked frequently about a change.
In this role, Turner assumes some of the duties assistant athletic director George Lutkenhaus held. That involves athletes in high level programs, such as gymnastics and equestrian. Turner will also organize athletic camps, handle all athletic travel and coordinate officials for subvarsity football and volleyball games this fall.
Growth in the district hastened the decision. Last week, voters passed a $399 million bond package that includes a new aquatic center and new outdoor field houses at Trophy Club Byron Nelson and Justin Northwest.
“This is something that I didn’t need to say no to,” Turner said. “My wife Paula and I talked about this. This is the opportunity to do some things that I normally couldn’t during the football season. I’ve got a daughter (Lauryn) whose husband (Josh Martin) coaches at Arizona State, and I’m about to be a grandfather. My son Landry is at Hardin-Simmons and I have another son Logan who is coaching at Tyler Lee. So this gives me the chance to see them.”
Turner was hired by former Northwest ISD athletics director and current UIL athletics director Susan Elza in 2015 to open Eaton. The subvarsity team went 9-1 before it transitioned into its first varsity season in 2016.
The Eagles feature quarterback Riley Taylor and Division I running back prospect Titus Swen. They are expected to be playoff contenders this fall.
“We have a coordinator for every subject level like math and English, and it was getting to the point where we needed this for PE,” Johnson said. “There are just so many things going on with programs that it was getting overwhelming. This is the kind of job that once it’s filled, it’s probably not going to come open again. This is a great fit for Brad.”
Brian Ducas is the new girls soccer coach at Justin Northwest. Ducas, who arrives from Lubbock High, replaces Josh Vaughn, who held the position on interim basis in 2017. Vaughn guided the Lady Texans to the Class 5A playoffs.