1990: M.S.S. Sports Management
Michael Turnbull is no longer just a husband, father, coach and groundskeeper, the 53-year-old volleyball and basketball coach can now add published author to his list of titles.
Turnbull’s humorous—and definitely random—book, “Random Thoughts of a Stupid Man” (186 pages, 2 Moon Press, $12.99) wanders through his life telling stories from his childhood growing up in a military family to coaching for 32 years at the high school and collegiate level in Minnesota.
“Humbling is the only word that keeps coming up in my head,” says Turnbull of publishing his first book. “Originally, I was just looking to get down my thoughts for my own family.”
Turnbull, who earned his master’s in Sports Management from the Academy in 1990, currently coaches women’s volleyball and basketball at Hibbing Community College in Hibbing, Minn. He has been there since 1997 and also coached men’s basketball and baseball. His teams at HCC have made 13 state tournament appearances, six region tournaments, won two conference titles, claimed one region tournament and made it to one national tournament.
Turnbull speaks to the Alumni Network about writing his first book, his coaching philosophy and his basketball team’s outlook this season.
Alumni Network: How did your idea come about for the book, “Random Thoughts of a Stupid Man?”
Michael Turnbull: What I did was started working out my notes four or five years ago. People had told me that I should do something on all my coaching experiences between high school and college for 32 years. But I thought if I was going to write something, I wanted to do it a little more than on coaching. I didn’t want to make myself out to be like John Wooden. Plus, if I did a book on coaching that would appeal to a small market and an even smaller one would believe half the stuff that happens. Originally, I was just looking to get down my thoughts for my own family. I have always taken pride in being referred to as coach, second only to my favorite titles as husband and dad. I never dreamed I would see author in front of my name. I can only hope this might help me gain entry to the “Stupid Man Club” if and when I get to heaven.
Alumni Network: Will you be able to quit coaching now that you’re an author?
Michael Turnbull: I seriously doubt it.
Alumni Network: Is there a main theme that runs through your tongue-in-cheek, autobiographical book?
Michael Turnbull: One of the main themes that cuts across the whole book is just respect for people. The main thing that I’ve developed as my coaching philosophy is it’s people first, students first. I want to create people who are solid. When you look at the long odds of any of your players making it to the pros, you realize that we’ve got to help them succeed in other ways. That’s especially true with the kids leaving college now who are trying to find jobs that match their education and going up against people with 30 years of experience who have been laid off. They have got to be able to compete and present themselves confidently.
Alumni Network: How’s your women’s basketball team look this season?
Michael Turnbull: The last two years we’ve played in the regional finals and now we’re back to freshmen. I have four freshmen starting. That’s the challenge of coaching in junior college. You pretty much have a new crew every year. (Kentucky men’s basketball coach) John Calipari works with a little more talent than I do.