Zach Turner spent a number of years as an assistant learning from a number of highly regarded head basketball coaches. Now, he gets a chance to lead his own program.
Covenant Day School recently announced that Turner is taking over its girls basketball team, replacing Kory Bridges. The Lions graduated four starters from a season ago, but Turner said that’s fine with him.
“I’m excited to be a head coach and get my hands on the program,” Turner said. “I have been an assistant for years and have been wanting to get my own gig. I am ready to do this.”
Although the Lions lost six seniors overall, the cupboard is far from bare. Rising senior Morgan Mosteller returns as the leading scorer from last season. Juniors Bekah Fultz and Haily Manns also return, providing scoring and leadership for Turner.
A 1999 Charlotte Christian graduate, Turner played for four years at the University of Tennessee under coaches Jerry Green and Buzz Peterson. At Christian, he played for NBA all-star Bobby Jones and worked under current coach Shonn Brown, who he said is one of his biggest coaching influences. Turner also coached at Seymore (Tenn.) High School.
“I have played for and coached with some really good coaches, and I know what it takes to be good,” Turner said. “I wasn’t the best player on Tennessee’s team, but I know what it takes to get there and what it means to really work hard.”
The Covenant Day program made strides under Bridges, who has an 18-month-old child and said he stepped down from the job for family reasons.
Bridges led the Lions to a 15-15 record this past season and a spot in Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly’s Super 7 Girls Basketball ranking for much of the campaign.
Turner also is familiar with success on the high school level. As a junior at Charlotte Christian, he played on a squad that went 28-8 and finished as the private-school 3A state runner-up. The following year, as a 6-foot-7 center, Turner averaged 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds and 3.5 blocked shots to help Christian to a 24-7 mark. He then became a walk-on player at Tennessee.
While he has yet to meet everyone on his new team, Turner’s thrilled to get his team off and running.
“I’m so excited to get going,” Turner said. “I want us to be competitive with the schools I competed against while at Christian. I know Providence Day is good, Christian is good, but I want to be able to compete with them.
“Basically, I just want to win. I know the 3A classification has some good teams. (Our) girls finished fourth in the (Metrolina Athletic) Conference last year, and it was sort of an overachievement for them. I want to turn the mind-set around. Yes, finishing third or fourth is pretty good, but we need to shoot higher than that to get where I want us to get.”