Ralph Turner, a former NAIA National Coach of the Year, completed his sixth season as CSU-Pueblo's head men's basketball coach in 2016-17.
In six seasons at CSU-Pueblo, Turner is taking steps to improve the team's status into legitimate contender. He owns a 99-70 (.586) record as the ThunderWolves bench boss. Under Turner, CSU-Pueblo owns a 52-28 (.650) home record at Massari Arena.
The ThunderWolves have finished above .500 in each of the six seasons under Turner, which included a 19-9 record in 2016-17. The Pack have appeared in five straight RMAC Tournaments and have hosted the first round in two of the last three seasons. The Pack recorded a new program record for league victories last season with a 17-5 mark that placed them fifth in the final RMAC standings.
Under the tutelage of Turner, 17 members of the ThunderWolves have earned All-RMAC honors, while four have gathered first-team recognition (Bronson Moton - 2014-15, Chris Golden - 2015-16, Nelson Kahler and Rico Spikes - 2016-17). Kahler was named RMAC Defensive Player of the Year in 2016-17 and earned a pre-draft workout with the NBA's Denver Nuggets.
The Pack finished fourth in the RMAC standings in 2014-15 with a 16-6 record (21-9 overall). CSU-Pueblo hosted the first round of the RMAC Tournament for just the second time in program history and reached the semifinals. The 21 overall victories were tied for the third most since 1963 (according to available records) and is just the fourth occasion in that time span the Pack have reached the 21-win plateau.
The 2015-16 squad went 16-13 overall with a 12-10 RMAC record. One of the 16 victories included an 87-84 overtime upset at then-No. 1 Tarleton State.
The Pack posted their third .500 or better record in 2013-14, as they finished 15-12 overall and 13-9 in league play last season to conclude the season tied for fifth in the conference standings. In 2012-13, CSU-Pueblo turned in its highest Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference finish (4th) since 1989 and hosted its first home playoff game since 1995. It also ended its season with a road defeat of 2nd-ranked Metro State, the highest-ranked team ever defeated by a CSU-Pueblo team, breaking a 15-year drought against the Roadrunners, which would end the season as the national runner-up.
Turner came to CSU-Pueblo after serving as the longtime coach at Union (Tenn.) University from 1994 to 2009, a program he helped turn into an NAIA powerhouse. At Union, he led the Bulldogs to 10 NAIA National Tournaments over 15 seasons, included three NAIA "Elite Eight" appearances and six "Sweet 16" appearances.
In all, Turner boasted a 362-151 record at Union (.706 winning percentage), leading Union to six TranSouth Regular Season and Tournament Championships (1998, 1999, 2002, 2005, 2006, 2009).
During the 2009 championship season, when Union advanced to the NAIA "Sweet 16", he was named the NAIA National Coach of the Year.
Turner's impressive resume pre-dates his stellar run at Union, as he was a longtime assistant as well, helping his Alma Mater, Lipscomb (Tenn.) College, win the 1986 NAIA National Championship under coaching legend, Don Meyer. In all, Turner was an assistant at Lipscomb for nine years before accepting the position at Union in 1994.
In his career, he has coached college basketball’s all-time leading scorer, all-time assists leader, all-time steals leader, and all-time leading shot blocker. He has coached 26 NAIA All-Americans in his career and has had 13 players to take their talents to the professional level.
Turner currently resides in Pueblo.