A 10-year run at Cal State Stanislaus that began with a rare trip to the NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Tournament and ended with nine straight losing seasons was enough for coach Sharon Turner.
Stanislaus is expected to announce Thursday that Turner, 49, has retired from coaching and has left the university.
When reached for comment, Turner confirmed the report, but said she preferred not to talk about the move until after the school released its official statement.
Turner was hired away from her assistant coaching position at Cal Poly Pomona on May 12, 2002, to take the interim head coaching position at Stanislaus.
At the time, head coach LeAnn Millar already had missed a full season on medical leave with a back ailment, and assistant Milt Raugust stepped in to coach the team during the 2001-02 season.
With Millar’s status still undecided for 2002-03, Raugust told the school he would not return for a second year, and Turner (then Turner-Dean) took the position with no guarantee she would be retained for a second season.
In that first season, Turner coached the team to an 18-10 overall record, including a 15-7 mark in the California Collegiate Athletic Association, and the Warriors were granted the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Division II West Region - their first as a scholarship program.
Despite getting 36 points and 15 rebounds from Ceres High’s Shannon Donnelly and 31 points and 21 rebounds from Aprile Powell — who had followed Turner from Pomona to Stanislaus — the Warriors lost 116-106 in overtime to No. 2 Bakersfield State in the first round of the NCAA Tournament at Seattle Pacific.
In the next nine years the Warriors would not come close to another NCAA berth, never finishing another season over .500 overall or in CCAA action.
Turner leaves with a 94-174 overall record and went 67-145 in CCAA play, and her years at the school ended with a 6-20, 3-19 campaign in which injuries and player ineligibilities handicapped the team to the point where the Warriors had six players available for their final seven games.
Bee staff writer Brian VanderBeek can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2150. Follow him at twitter.com/modestobeek.