Former Columbia Central defensive coordinator Tom Turchetta has been charged with returning Marshall County High School to gridiron prominence on Wednesday when he was officially named the Tigers' new head football coach.
Turchetta's hiring completes a frantic coaching search by MCHS after former coach Don Thomas left abruptly a month ago to take an assistant principal position at his alma mater Lincoln County High School.
"I am very excited and consider it a distinct honor and privilege to be named the head football coach at Marshall County High School," said Turchetta. "A lot of hard work and dedication from both the coaches and players will be put forth to return Marshall County football to a competitive level."
With only a handful of days to become acclimated to his coaching staff and players before the start of football practice next week, Turchetta knows he has to make up time but hopes to erase the bitter taste of last year's 1-9 season by instilling toughness and discipline in the Tiger program.
"My first step is to get to know the coaching staff, my second step is to get to know the players, and my third step is to figure out what we're going to do on Monday. You can't reinvent the wheel in three days," said Turchetta. "I want to play aggressive and physical football. I like to throw the football, but I want to establish the run first because that helps you in so many ways."
Although he has only been a head coach at the high school level for three years, Turchetta spent 23 years in the collegiate ranks as an assistant coach. Starting his college coaching career at the University of Kentucky in 1979, Turchetta has also spent time at East Tennessee State, Kentucky State, Memphis, UTEP, Pittsburgh, where he worked under former University of Tennessee head coach Johnny Majors, and Wyoming.
Armed with a wealth of knowledge from his college coaching days, Turchetta does not want to be pigeon holed as an offensive or defensive specialist, but believes he has the acumen to coach either side of the ball effectively.
"If you study the game enough, you learn both offense and defense. You can't be one dimensional. I have been exposed to a lot of good college coaches during the course of my career," said Turchetta. "I've coached just about every position except for the secondary and quarterback, but I know I could coach those positions properly if I had too."
Turchetta then became Associate Athletic Director at Wyoming before moving to Columbia, TN and accepting the position of director of alumni relation and community events at Columbia State Community College.
While employed at Columbia State, Turchetta served as a volunteer assistant coach at Columbia Central High School for the past three years and was the Lions defensive coordinator. This past season at Columbia Central, Turchetta helped lead the Lions to a 13-2 record and a berth in the Class 5A BlueCross Bowl.
As a player, Turchetta was a Junior College All-American linebacker while playing at Taft Junior College in California after being a standout high school football player in Pennsylvania. Turchetta then moved on to the University of Miami, FL and started at center his junior year before moving to guard for his senior campaign in 1972. As a senior, Turchetta was one of the squad's co-captains and was named the team's Most Valuable Player prior to participating in the North-South Shrine game.