Ryan Turnage does not fancy himself a public speaker. But the new head football coach of Lee-Davis High School got his message across clearly at his recent meet and greet with student-athletes and parents.
“There will be great effort, and we will do everything the right way,” Turnage proclaimed to those assembled at the school’s auditorium as he took over the reins from
Zac Hayden, who resigned in May after four seasons.
Turnage does not come to Lee-Davis without an understanding of the school’s rich football history. He fully expects the team’s 57th season to build positively on past success.
“You need to understand the tremendous tradition here at Lee-Davis, which helped me decide to come here. We have a great opportunity here to be successful,” Turnage said, adding that he considers legendary Confederates head coach Mac McConnell to be a “best friend.”
McConnell won 162 games in Mechanicsville from 1977-2001.
Turnage and McConnell, now in his 13th season as an assistant at Randolph-Macon, worked together in Ashland under head coach Pedro Arruza in 2005 and 2006 before Turnage accepted the head coaching position at Jamestown High School in Williamsburg. In his five years at the helm, the Eagles went 26-25 and earned the school’s first-ever playoff berth.
Turnage acknowledges with deep appreciation the lessons he learned at Day Field under Arruza.
“Coach Arruza is a great man, and I probably learned more about how to deal with people and developing young men,” Turnage explained. “Character traits, doing things the right way – he is spot on in the way he runs his program. A lot of things that I do are from the way he does things there.”
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