Russell Turner was named men’s basketball coach at UC Irvine Friday, April 9. He has served the past six seasons as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association and also has held positions at Stanford University and Wake Forest University.
Turner’s numerous responsibilities under head coach Don Nelson at Golden State have included assisting with game planning, analyzing opponent tendencies and individual player skill development.
He has also served for five seasons as a coach for the Warriors’ summer-league entry in Las Vegas. He has participated actively in the NBA’s international outreach camps, including Basketball Without Borders, representing the league in Turkey, China and Lithuania. BWB uses basketball to create positive social change in education, health and wellness.
Turner was a member of Mike Montgomery’s Stanford University staff from 2000-04 when the Cardinal had a combined overall record of 105-24 (.814), including 59-13 (.819) in Pac-10 play. Stanford won Pac-10 regular-season titles in 2001 and 2004, was ranked No. 1 in the polls both seasons, and advanced to the NCAA tournament each of Turner’s four years, including the West Regional final in 2001.
He worked with Stanford All-Americans Josh Childress, Casey Jacobsen, Jarron Collins and Jason Collins.
Prior to Stanford, Turner worked under Dave Odom as an assistant at Wake Forest University. During his tenure from 1994-2000, the Demon Deacons won 161 games, advancing to the NCAA tournament three times, including the Midwest Regional final in 1996. Tim Duncan was a three-time All-American during that era.
Turner’s first coaching position was as an assistant at his alma mater, Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College in 1993-94.
As a player at Hampden-Sydney, Turner was a two-time All-American and set the school’s career scoring record of 2,272 points. He was a member of Hampden-Sydney’s first two NCAA tournament teams.
Turner, a runner-up for NCAA Division III Player of the Year in 1992, was inducted into Hampden-Sydney’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
He graduated magna cum laude in 1992 with a bachelor’s in English and economics, and earned numerous academic honors, including election into Phi Beta Kappa.
Turner is a native of Roanoke, Va. He and his wife, Elizabeth, a physician, have two children, Devlin and Darius.
“Russell’s body of work makes him a superb choice for our program,” said Mike Izzi, UCI athletic director. “He has worked in successful programs, gaining valuable knowledge from Hall-of-Fame caliber coaches, and has thrived in academic settings.
“He has had the opportunity to work closely with many of the NBA’s top players and help develop outstanding collegiate competitors. Our players will benefit greatly from his experience. We look forward to the excitement that Russell will bring to our basketball program, the campus and the community. We welcome Russell and his family to our university,” Izzi said.
“I also want to thank our search committee for their hard work and diligence in providing valuable assistance with this process,” Izzi added.
Turner agreed to a five-year contract with an annual base salary of $205,000. He becomes the seventh head coach in the 45-year history of the Anteater men’s basketball program.
“I am honored and extremely excited to be chosen to lead the men’s basketball program at UCI,” Turner said. “In many ways this is a dream job for me because of the culture of excellence within this university. I am eager to get to work with my team and to earn the respect of the Irvine community and I will approach all of the important aspects of this job with great enthusiasm. I have tremendous respect for the coach I am following, Pat Douglass, and I am hoping to form strong relationships with the many impressive people who are a part of this program’s past as we build for the future of our team.”
Scott Brooks, current head coach with the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder and former UC Irvine basketball standout, says, “I am thrilled for the UC Irvine basketball family. Russell is a great teacher of the game and brings a wealth of knowledge to our program.”
At UCI, Turner replaces Pat Douglass, who is the Anteaters’ winningest coach with 197 victories, including a school-record 25 in 2000-01. Douglass served 13 seasons as head coach, leading UCI to its first Big West Conference regular-season titles in 2001 and 2002, and NIT appearances both of those years.
What other people are saying about Russell Turner:
“I think that UC Irvine has made an outstanding choice. Russ is one of the best young coaches that I’ve ever worked with and I’ve felt that all he needed was a chance – and now he has that chance. He has a very bright future.”– Don Nelson, head coach, NBA Golden State Warriors; All-time winningest coach in NBA history
“I know that coach Turner will do an outstanding job. He has Pac-10 experience and is a wonderful person and family man. He will recruit quality kids and turn that program into a young and up and coming place to be. He was a great mentor and coach for me. I have the utmost confidence in him.” – Baron Davis, guard, NBA Los Angeles Clippers