Turchetta embraces past, relishes the future
Tom Turchetta is entering his third year as the head football coach at Marshall County High School and 2011 was a program-changing season as the Tigers' squad took a giant leap forward, posting a sparkling 9-4 record and becoming only the fourth MCHS team to play three play-off games and the first since 1988 to have the trio of post-season contests at Preston Hopkins Field in Lewisburg.
"That was tremendously satisfying and so different than the year before when I remember after getting the job and two days later, going over to Lincoln County on the bus, and I didn't even know their names," said Turchetta. "It has been great to see these kids buy in, how hard they try. You always form a bond with all your kids and I am very proud of all of them. But that senior class that just graduated, as sophomores were 1-9, as juniors they went through the coaching change and had something entirely different and went 4-7 and made the playoffs, and then last year they went 9-4, going to the third round, so they will always have a special spot in my heart."
The bar is set very high after last season and Turchetta relishes the future for many good reasons, but he also wants to embrace the storied traditions of the past as well with the announcement of the formation of the Marshall County High School Football Alumni Association.
"I got to talking to Mike Keny when I first got the job and he kind of planted a seed in my mind about starting a football alumni association," said Turchetta. "Now after those first two years I kind of got my feet on the ground and now that I know what direction I am going in, we are going to start the first ever Marshall County High School Football Alumni Association."
On Aug. 31 versus Hickman County, the first alumni association night will be held with the 1984 state championship team and former head football coach Bob Edens as the honorary guests.
"I think this is important because it connects our alumni with our current team members, students at the school, and the coaching staff," said Turchetta "Let's celebrate what they have accomplished. The way the economy is, entertainment on a Friday night for a family of three or four can get real expensive, so what could be better than a high school football game, especially if you are an alum. It reconnects with your school, there may be business people that can help us down the road, there may be mentors that we can introduce our players to that can help them, guide them and reconnect them to the past, so why not?"
Cameron Coble and Hale Hawkins, both members of the 1984 state title team will be acting as the hosts of the event and will be the contact points for other football alumni who want to become a part of the new endeavor.
"When we compile the lists, we will announce the members of the 1984 team at the alumni association night," said Turchetta. "We want to make a big deal about this."
On Friday, Turchetta will be a guest on WAXO at 7 a.m. and on WJJM at 8 a.m. to discuss and take questions about the formation of the alumni association and the upcoming season.
"I travel around talking to folks as part of the Quarterback Club's Program for the fall and there is tremendous interest now," said Turchetta. "Everybody was kind of, at first, 'let's see,' but now there is great interest and a lot of excitement."
Turchetta talked about the upcoming season and his expectations.
"We have a chance to be a really good football team," said Turchetta. "We are bigger, we are faster, we are athletic, we are experienced, our coaching staff hasn't changed, so we can pick and choose what we want to do and match our kids' abilities to that. We have picked up in spring practice right where we left off last fall. We are way, way ahead in the fundamentals and X's and O's, so it's vastly different from what it was."
With the bar set so high now, Turchetta does not want to look back, except for the history of the program.
"We are a confident football team, I believe in what they do," said Turchetta. "I believe this program is headed in the right direction and I think for us, that is where the bar should be every year. There is nothing wrong with demands and expectations. I tell the kids, let's shoot for the stars, you may not reach where you want to go, but let's shoot for everything."
Turchetta added, "I was raised in athletics as one day at a time, don't look ahead, but I have changed. I want them to think ahead, I want them to close their eyes and envision what it is going to feel like, getting on the bus the day of the state championship and going to Cookeville to play. There is no greater feeling."