Basketball: Ronnie Turner leaves Bates to become head coach at Connecticut prep school

After a year of learning under John Forbush as the assistant principal for men’s basketball at Bates College, Ronnie Turner leaves from Lewiston to take a head coaching job at Pomfret School, a prep school in Connecticut.

Ronnie Turner shouts directions to his team during his tenure as coach for Lewiston High School in 2021. Ross Dillingham/SunJournal

“Overall, it’s exciting and I have another opportunity to train again, this time as the head coach,” said Turner. “It’s hard to leave the show and the guys. Even though I’m not with them, I still keep in touch. I talk to Forbush and (assistant coach) Graham Safford every day.”

It was a tough decision for Turner, who spent the season learning from Furbush and also recruiting for Bates. Turner was in charge of former Lewiston High School players David Omasombo and Choir Main who committed to the Bobcats, as well as Elliot Kravitz, a Colorado guard.

However, Pomfret’s former coach, Rob Tost, has known Turner since the year they worked together at the University of Maine, when Tost was director of basketball operations for the men’s basketball team and Turner was a student assistant. Tost reached out to Turner about the impending job opening.

“He called me after one of our matches and said, ‘Maybe I’m stepping down, are you interested,’” Turner said. “I wasn’t interested at first because I was so comfortable, I like guys. He sent me information and I immediately told Coach Forbush, he was really supportive of everything and said, “At least you should gain experience in the interview process.”

Turner went through the process and ended up accepting the job. He said the culture in Pomfret stood out the most.

“Things are getting a lot more interesting to me, and I love the campus, what they do there and the community there,” Turner said. “I did my tour with a student, and she did a great job. She wasn’t in a job role, she was just herself. The thing that caught my eye was she talked to everyone she saw and said their first name. Everyone responded by her name to it, and I thought that was really cool.”

“They talked a lot about the community in the interview process, but seeing her live was really cool.”

toast He will remain at Pomfret and serve as Turner’s assistant. Tost resigned as the head coach because he took a different job at the school, Work in the Dean’s office.

He said he reached out to Turner about opening the position because of Turner’s previous experience, work ethic, and dedication shown during their time at the University of Maine.

“From the beginning, he was someone who really wanted to learn how to be a coach,” Tost said. “…what made me think of Ronnie is first and foremost that he already has high school experience. Being in Maine helps because we have a lot of kids pursuing their path to top DIII academic schools. His experience really spoke to me. When I called him and explained The path to other opportunities in education, not just basketball, and the team, he was really interested in. He’s open to a lot of growth, and I knew he was going to be up to this challenge. The most important thing is to be someone who wants to learn and grow, and he has all of these qualities” .

Turner, who graduated from Lewiston High School in 2010 and played for a year in pro basketball overseas, He quickly climbed through the training ranks. He said he learned at every stop.

After working as an assistant at Lee Academy in 2016, Turner became the head coach of Lewiston High School’s freshman team for a year before going on to play in El Salvador with Apopa in the El Salvador Liga Superior.

Support from the Apopa community stuck to Turner.

“I was able to get around town, and I had a lot of love from the community,” he said. “People invited me into their homes, fed me and showed me their culture, and that was really cool.”

He added that the experience and the people in El Salvador had a great influence on him.

“I took a lot more from her than just a basketball,” Turner said. “Everyone there was very happy. They don’t have many of the things we have in America. I couldn’t drink water and remember drinking orange juice on the sidelines. I remember thinking how crazy that was, but it was only natural for them that they didn’t think of any something. They valued the things in life.”

Turner finished a season with Apopa and eventually returned to Maine, and in 2019, was named head coach of the Lewiston boys’ basketball team. He spent two seasons commanding the Blue Devils before being appointed as Furbush’s assistant principal at Bates College.

Turner has known Forbush since Turner was a kid playing at Bates gym, and he met Safford at an AAU experience in high school.

“It’s their program, and they let me be myself and add my own values, which I also appreciate,” Turner said.

Early in the season, Turner’s passion for the game showed itself and turned into a calming moment.

“I remember being on the bench, being a defensive guy, and I remember we scored a goal and it was the end of the world for me,” said Turner. “I couldn’t understand why we scored. I remember Coach Graham next to me saying, ‘Hey, it’s all right, it’s part of the game.’ Just the way he said, I was like, ‘Wow, he’s right.'”

“Throughout my journey as a player and coach, my goals have been scored many times, so I haven’t seen anything I haven’t seen before, but when you are very passionate about it and you take a lot of time on the defensive side of the ball, when you put everything inside and things don’t go your way, from It’s easy to be emotional in the moment.”

This passion passed on to recruiting. Along with Omasombo and Mayen — whom he coached at Lewiston — Turner also succeeded in recruiting nationally by getting Kravitz to stick to the Bobcats.

“With Elliot, I just created a relationship with him,” Turner said. “I’d help him with things like workouts, send him info, you’ll just find common ground and common interests. It’s only friendship, and at the end of the day I’m human and he’s human and I’m just creating a human connection. You let things be organic from there, and let the family know What it stands for and that is how the program is built from there.”

He is excited to recruit his players after next season at Pomfret, where he will begin his role in July. He will also work in the admissions office.

“In the first year, I wasn’t able to pick any players, so it’s going to be completely new to me, but after this year I’ll be able to recruit some players that I think would fit in what I’m trying to do in the program,” Turner said.

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