Russell Turner, in his sixth year as head coach at UC Irvine, has guided the Anteaters to 65 wins over the past three seasons and postseason appearances each of those years.
Turner guided UCI to the program’s first NCAA Division I Tournament berth last season, as the Anteaters won the Big West Conference Tournament for the first time in school history to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA tourney.
UCI took three-time national champion Louisville to the wire in the NCAA Second Round, falling 57-55 to the Cardinals in Seattle, Wash.
In the Big West Tournament last March, the ‘Eaters defeated UC Riverside in the quarterfinals, UC Santa Barbara in the semifinals and Hawai’i in the championship game.
Turner’s 2014-15 Anteaters finished 21-13 overall and earned the program’s third consecutive postseason appearance. His 2013 squad competed in the CollegeInsider.com (CIT) Tournament and the 2014 ‘Eaters played in the National Invitation Tournament (NIT).
His Anteater teams have consistently ranked as one of the nation’s top defensive teams. Last season, as the Anteaters set a new school record for lowest defensive average at 62.1 points per game and were 15-1 when limiting the opposition to under 40-percent shooting from the field.
In the final NCAA statistics last season, the Anteaters ranked 26th in blocked shots per game (4.9), 27th in field-goal percentage defense (.394) and 28th in total blocked shots (168). UCI was 27th nationally last season in three-point field goal percentage at .389.
Entering the 2015-16 season, UCI has won 48 of its last 50 games when holding the opposition to 60 points or less and the Anteaters have won 36 of their last 44 games (.818) in the Bren Events Center.
Turner was named 2014 Big West Conference Coach of the Year and NABC District 9 Coach of the Year after leading the Anteaters to their first league regular-season title in 12 years and a second consecutive 20-win season.
He guided the ‘Eaters to a 23-12 overall record in 2013-14 and a 13-3 mark in Big West play. The 23 wins tied for the second-highest mark in UCI history. Five of his players received Big West postseason recognition.
The ‘Eaters advanced to the championship game of the 2013 Big West Tournament, topping Hawai’i and No. 1 seed Long Beach State before falling to Pacific in the final.
Turner was named UC Irvine's head coach April 9, 2010, after serving the previous six seasons as an assistant coach for the Golden State Warriors of the National Basketball Association following positions at Stanford University and Wake Forest University.
Turner also served as a coach for the Warriors' summer-league entry in Las Vegas for five seasons. He has been an active participant in the NBA's international outreach camps, including Basketball without Borders, representing the league in Turkey, China and Lithuania. BWB is a program that uses basketball to create positive social change in education, health and wellness.
Turner was a member of Mike Montgomery's Stanford University staff from 2000-04 when the Cardinal had a combined overall record of 105-24 (.814), including 59-13 (.819) in Pac-10 play. Stanford won Pac-10 regular-season titles in 2001 and 2004, was ranked No. 1 in the polls both seasons, and advanced to the NCAA tournament each of Turner's four years, including the West Regional final in 2001.
The list of players he worked with at Stanford includes All-Americans Josh Childress, Casey Jacobsen, Jarron Collins and Jason Collins.
Prior to Stanford, Turned worked under Dave Odom as an assistant at Wake Forest University from 1994-2000.
The Demon Deacons won 161 games in those six seasons, advancing to the NCAA tournament three times, including the Midwest Regional final in 1996. Tim Duncan was a three-time All-American during Turner's tenure at Wake Forest.
Turner's first coaching position was as an assistant at his alma mater, Hampden-Sydney (Va.) College in 1993-94.
As a player at Hampden-Sydney, Turner was a two-time All-American (1991 & 1992) and set the school's career scoring record of 2,272 points. He was a member of Hampden-Sydney's first two NCAA tournament teams and was inducted into Hampden-Sydney's Athletic Hall of Fame in 2002.
He graduated magna cum laude in 1992 with a B.A. in English and economics, and earned numerous academic honors including election into Phi Beta Kappa.
Turner is a native of Roanoke, Va. He and his wife, Elizabeth, a physician, have two children, Devlin and Darius.
What others said when UC Irvine hired Russell Turner in 2010:
"I am thrilled for the UC Irvine basketball family. Russell is a great teacher of the game and brings a wealth of knowledge to our program."
-- Scott Brooks, Head Coach - NBA's Oklahoma City Thunder (2010 NBA Coach of the Year); UC Irvine alum
"I think that UC Irvine has made an outstanding choice. Russ is one of the best young coaches that I've ever worked with and I've felt that all he needed was a chance - and now he has that chance. He has a very bright future."
-- Don Nelson, Former Head Coach - NBA's Golden State Warriors; All-time winningest coach in NBA history
"Russ is a great hire for the Anteaters. He has a lot of energy and is a real people person. He is bright and a very capable basketball guy. I was fortunate to see him flourish at Stanford and went on to hire him with the Warriors. Everyone there will enjoy working with Russ."
--Mike Montgomery, Head Coach - University of California; former head coach at Stanford University and Golden State
"Congratulations to UC Irvine. You are getting a great guy and I think it's going to be exciting for your program. I have known Russ Turner as a high school player, collegian and as a young coach. I have watched him progress as an assistant coach at Wake Forest and Stanford, and in his six years as an NBA coach. His background gives him a uniqueness to be the best-qualified person to be the basketball coach at UC Irvine. When you combine his basketball background with his human qualities, you have a person who is caring, loyal, disciplined and committed to student-athletes. UC Irvine is getting the very best person for the job and I look forward to watching his continued progress and the growth of the Anteater basketball program with him."
-- Dave Odom - Former Head Coach - Wake Forest University and South Carolina
"I know that Coach Turner will do an outstanding job. He has Pac-10 experience and is a wonderful person and family man. He will recruit quality kids and turn that program into a young and upcoming place to be. He was a great mentor and coach for me. I have the utmost confidence in him."
-- Baron Davis, Guard - NBA's Cleveland Cavaliers; Two-time NBA All-Star
COACH TURNER IN THE NEWS
Turner adjusts to UC Irvine job (Roanoke Times) January 26, 2011
NBA players root on UC Irvine Anteaters (Irvine World News) November 27, 2010
'Eaters expand borders (Daily Pilot) August 15, 2010
Turner welcomes challenge at UC Irvine (ESPN.com) July 20, 2010
From the NBA to UCI (UC Irvine web feature) June 14, 2010
Turner's Time (playbyplayonline.net) June 7, 2010 - begins on page 10
UCI's Turner has the experiences (O.C. Register) April 25, 2010
Turner identifies with players (Daily Pilot) April 12, 2010
Russell Turner Named New Basketball Head Coach (New University) April 12, 2010
Anteaters' new coach, Russell Turner, makes switch from NBA (Irvine World News) April 12, 2010
UCI hires the smartest coach I've ever met (O.C. Register) April 9, 2010
NBA assistant Russell Turner takes UCI basketball job (O.C. Register) April 9, 2010
From NBA to UCI (Daily Pilot) April 9, 2010