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David Turner
Position: Assistant Coach
Other Position: Defensive Line
Alma Mater: Davidson
Graduating Year: 1985
Email: dturner@athletics.msstate.edu
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Sixth Season at MSU

Widely regarded as one of the top defensive line coaches in the nation, David Turner begins his sixth season on Dan Mullen’s staff in Starkville after making his return in 2013. Turner coached the Bulldog defensive line from 2007-09 before going on to a three-year stint at Kentucky.

A veteran of 29 years as a collegiate coach with 14 seasons of experience in the Southeastern Conference, Turner mentored current NFL standouts Fletcher Cox, Kyle Love, Pernell McPhee, Josh Boyd and most recently Preston Smith. Cox was ranked among the NFL’s top 10 best defensive players by NFL.com in December 2014, while McPhee signed a $40 million deal with the Chicago Bears in March 2015 as one of the league’s top pass rushers.   

Turner’s 2014 squad was one of the most dominant in school history, tallying 37 sacks – the third-most in school annals and the most overall since 1996 – and 85 tackles for loss. The 37 sacks ranked second in the SEC and among the top 20 nationally. MSU’s bend-but-don’t-break defense led the nation in the redzone, allowing only 19 touchdowns on 44 attempts (63.64 percent).  

Individually, few nationally were better than the senior Smith, who concluded his career with first-team All-SEC honors and became the only player in SEC history to be named the league’s Defensive Lineman of the Week for three consecutive weeks (Sept. 1, 8 and 15, 2014). Smith finished among MSU’s all-time top 10 in both sacks (ninth, 16) and tackles for loss (sixth, 27).

Smith, a once three-star recruit, developed into a disruptive force on the line under Turner’s guidance. As a senior, he ranked sixth in the SEC in sacks (nine) and fifth in tackles for loss (15), both of which ranked among the top six single-season marks in school history.

Smith’s banner year was capped when he became the second-highest drafted Bulldog defensive lineman since 1983. Only Cox – another Turner protégé -- went higher when he was taken in the 2012 first round by the Philadelphia Eagles. Smith was the Bulldogs’ highest drafted player in 2015, going No. 38 overall to the Washington Redskins in the second round.  

Another Turner standout, Kaleb Eulls, concluded his career at MSU in 2014 after being a rock-solid starter at defensive tackle for four seasons. Eulls signed a contract with the New Orleans Saints in May 2015.

In 2013, the Bulldogs ranked fourth in rushing defense in the nation’s toughest conference, allowing only 144 yards per game. In his first season at State in 2007, he helped the Bulldogs to their first postseason appearance in seven years and the defense ranked 24th nationally in tackles for loss.

At Kentucky, Turner helped the defense improve in tackles for loss, sacks and rushing yards allowed from the year prior to his hire. The Wildcats improved their sacks-per-game average each season under Turner’s watch, posting more than two per game in 2012.

Turner originally joined the MSU staff in 2007 after one season at Alabama. He coached the Crimson Tide defensive ends during his lone campaign in Tuscaloosa. Alabama finished 23rd nationally in total defense in 2006 and advanced to the Independence Bowl.

Prior to Alabama, Turner was the defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Vanderbilt from 2002-05. One of his linemen, tackle Jovan Haye, went on to the NFL. Vanderbilt had a significant upgrade in talent level during Turner’s term as recruiting coordinator as he helped bring in the players for the Commodores’ eventual Music City Bowl championship in 2008.

A native of Goldston, N.C., Turner also has worked in the Big Ten Conference at Minnesota (2001), where he worked with the defensive ends, and in the Atlantic Coast Conference at Virginia (1997-2000), where he coached defensive tackles and linebackers. He also was co-special teams coordinator in his final season. The Cavaliers played in the Peach Bowl, Micronpc.com Bowl and the Oahu Classic during his term there.

Turner began his collegiate coaching career in 1986 as an assistant at his alma mater, Davidson College. He worked with the running backs and tight ends over a two-year stretch. In 1988, he moved to North Carolina State, serving two years as a defensive graduate assistant. He worked with a Wolfpack unit that ranked first in the ACC in total defense in 1988 while playing in the Peach Bowl and Copper Bowl.

He spent one year as the defensive line coach at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, helping the team to a 12-2 overall record while reaching the Division II national championship game. He also worked two seasons at James Madison, helping the Dukes to a 9-4 record and a berth in the 1991 Division I-AA playoffs.

Turner returned to the Division I-A ranks in 1993. He spent two seasons as defensive ends coach at Kentucky, where he helped the Wildcats advance to the ‘93 Peach Bowl. In 1995, he went back to NC State, coaching defensive ends and linebackers before going to Virginia in ‘97.

Turner is married to the former Yvette Modica and the couple has two daughters, Bianca and Alexyia.

Coaching Experience
2013-present: Mississippi State (Defensive Line)
2010-12: Kentucky (Defensive Line)
2007-09: Mississippi State (Defensive Line)
2006: Alabama (Defensive Ends)
2002-05: Vanderbilt (Defensive Line / Recruiting Coordinator)
2001: Minnesota (Defensive Ends)
1997-2000: Virginia (Defensive Tackles / Linebackers)
1995-96: North Carolina State (Defensive Tackles / Linebackers)
1993-94: Kentucky (Defensive Ends)
1991-92: James Madison (Assistant Coach)
1990: Indiana University of Pennsylvania
1988-89: North Carolina State (Graduate Assistant)
1987: Davidson (Outside Linebackers)
1986: Davidson (Running Backs / Tight Ends)

Bowl Games as a Coach
2014: Orange Bowl (MSU)
2013: Liberty Bowl (MSU)
2011: BBVA Compass Bowl (Kentucky)
2007: Liberty Bowl (MSU)
2006: Independence Bowl (Alabama)
2000: O’ahu Bowl (Virginia)
1999: Micronpc.com Bowl (Virginia)
1998: Chick-fil-A Bowl (Virginia)
1993: Peach Bowl (Kentucky)
1989: Copper Bowl (NC State)
1988: Peach Bowl (NC State)

Personal Information
Birthdate: Nov. 19, 1962
Hometown: Goldston, N.C.
Education: 1985 – Bachelor’s in Sociology from Davidson
Wife: Yvette
Children: Bianca and Alexyia

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