Turnbull finishing what he started

MORRIS, Minn. – Scott Turnbull knew the requirements of his head coaching position at the University of Minnesota, Morris would necessitate a return to school.

After doing research, he narrowed his criteria to three main factors: cost, mode of delivery, and real-world scenarios.

Minot State became the perfect fit.

“Part of my job requirements is teaching in the sports management department here at Minnesota Morris and I knew I needed to finish my master’s,” he said. “I’m from Brandon (Manitoba) and was familiar with Minot and Minot State. I don’t remember exactly how I found the program, there was probably a Google search involved, certainly some cost comparisons, and MSU is near the top in affordability.”

Turnbull, who earned his undergraduate degree in psychology at Minnesota Morris, wasn’t initially thrilled to return to the classroom, but having spent some time in a master’s program at Minnesota Duluth, he felt he knew what he wanted.

“I started at Minnesota Duluth, but life happened, and I timed out,” he said. “When I was hired here and knew I would need to finish it, it became something I wanted to accomplish. Sports management was the right fit for me. I don’t know if I will coach forever, but I want to stay in sports, it’s the right avenue for me.

“I wasn’t exactly looking forward to it, but now that I have a base, I feel a lot more confident. I’m glad I’m finishing what I started.”

While cost pointed Turnbull in Minot State’s direction, it was his interactions with MSU, first with Linda Cresap, sports management’s program director, and then with other faculty, that solidified his choice.

“The way the course was taught was very important for me, not just for my current coaching job, but for how I was going to teach my courses,” Turnbull said. “The professors were great to work with and I was on the phone early on with Dr. Cresap learning about how the sports management program was set up. Those were big factors in me choosing MSU.”

Having an online option was essential for Turnbull’s busy schedule. Along with coaching and teaching duties at Morris, he is a husband and father to five children. Time management skills were a must, but also flexibility on Minot State’s part have been crucial to his success.

“The way the courses are set up at Minot State, where we are generally only working on one class at a time, it’s very manageable,” he said. “I am able to stay on task. A big part of that was time management skills, but also the professors have been very accommodating. It’s not overwhelming.”

Turnbull began coaching at Minnesota Morris in 2010, returning to a sport he never stopped playing, just not at a collegiate level. After playing soccer as a prep athlete, he was recruited to Minnesota Crookston to be a kicker. After his football career was over, he was a student assistant coach for the women’s soccer program — to stay active in something other than academics — and has continued to coach soccer ever since.

“I’ve never stopped playing soccer, just didn’t play it in college. Football was more of a secondary sport in high school, but I got a scholarship to play at Crookston, so it became my main sport,” he said. “It’s been nice to get back into soccer. My knowledge base fits with soccer, and I got a great opportunity (at Morris).”

While only halfway through the sports management program at MSU, Turnbull feels the base he is building in the program has paid off as a coach and has set the table for teaching.

“Having taken the courses I have at Minot, I feel qualified to teach any of the classes I have here at Morris,” he said. “It has really transferred to my teaching role. As far as coaching, it was almost instant that I could apply what I was learning to coaching.

“I was looking for a program that used real-world knowledge and MSU has done a great job with that. The most applicable and interesting part for me is sports psychology. I have my undergrad in psychology, so I had a background, but the classes have really stuck with me. I feel its an area I’ve improved immensely.”

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Minot State University is a public university dedicated to excellence in education, scholarship, and community engagement achieved through rigorous academic experiences, active learning environments, commitment to public service, and a vibrant campus life.

Published: 02/02/23   

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