Katasha Turner is a rare female Athletic Director in Alabama
Published 5:10 pm Wednesday, October 16, 2019
Katasha Turner continues a unique tradition at Selma High School.
Turner is a first-year Athletic Director at Selma High School, a high-profile position not usually held by women. Turner succeeded Christopher Raymond, who left to become head football coach at LeFlore High School. Two of the last three Selma High Athletic Directors (AD) have been women.
“It feels different,” Turner said. “But in today’s time, there is a shift. A football coach or male does not always have to be the AD. Women are known to get the job done at hand.”
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Three years ago, Melissa White served as Selma High’s AD from 2016 to 2017. Raymond succeeded White.
Selma Schools Superintendent Dr. Avis Williams said she’s impressed with Turner’s academic and athletic background.
“Coach Turner came with a lot of fresh ideas to improve our athletic program,” Williams said. “She brought a lot of ideas for parents to get involved. She has a lot of fresh ideas that I’m excited about. She’s an athlete, a coach and has great time management skills.”
Selma City School Board President Johnny Moss III has faith Turner will fare well as Selma High’s AD.
“Coach Turner will do a great job,” Moss said.
Turner sees bigger obstacles than her gender in her new role.
“It is a challenge because I have to look at sports as more than just my team but the entire Athletic Department,” Turner said. “Its more than just eligibility it is fundraising, being an advocate for the coaches and support for the student athletes. It is added pressure because I am not just dealing with my own teams that I been coaching for four seasons, but again all sports and show them the support as well.”
For Turner, coaching track, volleyball and being AD all at once also provides a huge challenge.
“I wear many hats,” Turner said. “Being a female coach I have always had to juggle two to three sports in a year due to reaching at some financial equality of male coaches. I have coached basketball and softball too.”
Turner admits she has a favorite sport to coach.
“My favorite is track and field but being raised around track, that’s all I knew,” Turner said. “But I loved being adopted by volleyball. I walked into the gym as an assistant coach. By the end of the summer, because of the coach’s pregnancy, I ended up becoming the head coach. I literally had to be a student of the game.”
Turner said track and volleyball each provide the same objective.
“Track and volleyball both offer different ways to win, but their common goal is winning,” Turner said.
Turner’s road to the Queen City began in her hometown of Tyler, Texas. Turner was raised in St. Louis and Rockford, Illinois. She found her way to Alabama State University (ASU) and earned a degree in Physical Education. She achieved a master’s degree in Athletic Administration at the University of Concordia-Irvine.
Turner said her upbringing prepared her for a bright future in sports administration.
“My experience in playing as a student- athlete, being a student athletic trainer in college, coaching several sports, graduate school and being a part of the NIAAA and Advancing Academy both have assisted with me with the development of understanding and ways to build and move a program forward,” Turner said. “Especially Advancing Academy, which has allowed me to meet and connect with a well-rounded group of women from the interscholastic to collegiate level as well as branding consultants; it is a phenomenal experience.”
Turner built a name for herself as track coach at Pike County High School, Enterprise High and Carroll High. Turner coached Clarke County to an appearance in the Elite Eight round of the AHSAA volleyball tournament.
Four years ago, Turner was named softball and volleyball coach at Concordia College Alabama (CCA). She was also an assistant basketball coach, helping CCA win a national championship in the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA) during the 2015-16 season. The job didn’t last because CCA eventually closed down and Turner ended up at Selma.
Turner said she’s looking forward to running the Saints’ Athletic Department for years to come.
“I am excited about this opportunity to help student athletes excel on the playing area as well as the community and class,” Turner said.
Turner has a vision for Selma High athletics.
“The ultimate goal is for Selma to not only compete at a high level but to look and have our own facilities,” Turner said. “The other goal is bringing back our spirit and pride for the city of Selma. This includes building our feeder programs, improving our student athletic academic achievement and ACT scores in order for the opportunity to be recruited and increase attendance to all athletic events.”