Brian Turk didn’t ever think he would be the head football coach at Limestone University. Shortly before he joined the staff in 2017, the Columbia native didn’t know the Gaffney school even had a football team.
Once a self-described “SEC snob,” Turk, who was guest speaker on Thursday at the Laurens County Touchdown Club, had coached running backs as a graduate assistant and was assistant recruiting coordinator on the University of South Carolina staffs of Steve Spurrier and Will Muschamp. Longtime assistant coach Ellis Johnson (who also served as head coach at Gardner-Webb, The Citadel and Southern Mississippi) advised him to broaden his horizons.
After serving Limestone as offensive coordinator, Turk was an interim head coach at the end of 2018 and took over the team in 2019. The Saints had ended a 15-game losing in 2018 and went 3-8 in Turk’s first season on the job.
Upon visiting Limestone, Turk said he thought “this has a chance to be a pretty good situation.” The Saints are in NCAA Division II and the South Atlantic Conference.
Turk had nice words to say about Spurrier, who led the Gamecocks to three straight 11-win seasons.
“Coach Spurrier is a fascinating man,” Turk said. “He has a knack for seeing things on video that other coaches don’t see.”
In spite of his mythic skills, Turk said Spurrier kept his office TV on The Golf Channel around the clock and often needed someone to show him how to turn on his laptop.
Turk used part of his time to sell Limestone to potential student-athletes. The local players represented at the meeting were county Players of the Week Jykorie Gary of Clinton and Clarence Bertoli of Laurens Academy. Also present were Red Devils Bryson James, Justin Copeland and Najim Mayes and Crusaders Jonas Smith, Nicholas Rita and Zachary Mullinax. Due to an outbreak of the coronavirus, Laurens District High School and head coach Darryl Smith were not present.
Neither was Presbyterian College head coach Tommy Spangler, but assistant coach Kent Haltiwanger said an announcement of the Blue Hose spring season could come as soon as Friday, Nov. 13. He said PC was involved in meetings with fellow Pioneer Football League members and knew the teams it would play but not the dates of the games.
With Laurens’ home game versus Hillcrest off, WLBG will broadcast the SCISA playoff game at Laurens Academy (7-3) against Patrick Henry Academy (7-3) on Friday night.
The Sept. 19 meeting will be dedicated to colleges, with Spangler from PC, former South Carolina quarterback Connor Shaw and Clemson standout and Clinton native Al Richard on hand.