New Jersey City University Selects Rutgers’ Harry Turner as First-Ever Head Men’s Wrestling Coach

Courtesy of New Jersey City Athletics – Link

By: Contact: Ira Thor | @irapthor 

Henry ‘Harry’ Turner, Jr., the Director of Recruiting and Player Development at Rutgers University, has been selected as the first-ever head coach of the New Jersey City University men’s wrestling program, following a comprehensive national search.

Turner, 28, a native of Howell, N.J. and current resident of Belmar, will have the unique opportunity to build the program from scratch. NJCU made the groundbreaking announcement on May 1 that it would introduce the first new men’s wrestling program in the state of New Jersey since 1997 and launch the first-ever women’s wrestling program in the Garden State and the tri-state area. The head coach of the women’s program will be named later this summer.

“I am absolutely thrilled to have the honor of being chosen to lead New Jersey City University’s men’s wrestling program,” said Turner. “Creating another exceptional collegiate opportunity within the thriving New Jersey wrestling ecosystem is a dream come true for me. I’d like to thank Athletic Director Shawn Tucker, search committee head Ira Thor, and the rest of NJCU’s leadership for creating this program and entrusting me with the responsibility of preparing student-athletes for lifelong success. I’d also be remiss if I didn’t thank Scott Goodale and the Rutgers Wrestling staff for countless lessons that I’ll take with me into this new venture. Finally, I’d like to thank my family and support system, without whom I would have never made it this far in my profession. I’m looking forward to starting the journey of building a national power right here in Jersey City.”

Shawn Tucker, Director of Athletics and Associate Vice President, added: “Today is a great day for NJCU and the wrestling community at-large! Harry comes from a phenomenal coaching tree and has been a part of established programs that know how to build successful and sustainable wrestling programs. NJCU Wrestling is poised for long-term success benefiting from the deep talent pool of wrestlers in the tri-state area and more importantly, excellent leadership from Coach Turner. With Harry’s strong ties at the club, high school and collegiate levels, we look forward to taking strides each year until we crown a national champion!”

Ira Thor, chair of the men’s wrestling search committee and NJCU’s Director of Athletic Communications and Marketing said: “We had an extremely deep pool of candidates for this position. New men’s wrestling programs in the state of New Jersey are a rare occurrence and as you can imagine there was interest in this position from across the country. Ultimately, Coach Turner’s passion for this position, his extensive recruiting ties to New Jersey and the region and his vision for how he would build this program, allowed him to rise to the top of an impressive list of potential coaches. His work at Rutgers helped build the Scarlet Knights into a Top 10 program in Division I and we anticipate Coach Turner will help build the NJCU men’s program into an elite program in the years to come.”

Turner spent two seasons at Rutgers under the leadership of renown head coach Scott Goodale, following stops at Buffalo and Lock Haven, with success at each destination.

Goodale noted: “Jersey City is getting a really good one here in Harry Turner to start and lead their program. Harry has paid his dues and worked really hard to earn this position to lead a college wrestling program. For the last two years he has worked side-by-side with our staff in recruiting, fundraising, fan experience, and travel and that experience that will suit him so well going forward. He has Big Ten experience and was a major part of our historic record-setting season of 2019 and our No. 4 recruiting class. The state of New Jersey will have another very successful college wrestling program very shortly and the wrestling community should be very excited about that!”

From July 2017 to August 2018, Turner served as an assistant coach with the Scarlet Knight Wrestling Club/NJ Regional Olympic Training Center in New Brunswick, NJ. There he contributed to the planning, oversight, and implementation of the training schedule and participated in regular training sessions with team members. He also played a vital role in recruiting operations for Rutgers Wrestling including the identification of over 500 prospective student-athletes and maintenance of recruiting databases and he gained experience working with the Rutgers Wrestling Director of Operations in gameday and on campus recruiting operations, marketing and working with the compliance office.

His success in that role led to his promotion to Director of Recruiting and Player Development in August 2018 where he oversaw all recruiting efforts for the Scarlet Knights, maintaining weekly contact with 15 or more high-priority recruits per season. He oversaw the recruiting efforts for the No. 4 ranked recruiting class in the country this year according to FloWrestling.

Turner was responsible for monitoring the academic, athletic and social well-being of Rutgers’ 10-man freshman class in 2018 and his focus on academics, including study hall supervision, contributed to the program’s first 3.0 team GPA in several seasons. He served as the staff liaison to the Scarlet Knights Wrestling Club Board of Trustees, gaining valuable experience in fundraising, digital marketing and web content development.

Harry Turner at Buffalo 1
Harry Turner (center, standing) coaching at Buffalo from 2015-17.

Turner‘s first high-profile Division I coaching position came as the assistant wrestling coach at the State University of New York at Buffalo from November 2015 through May 2017, working with head coach John Stutzman. There he planned, oversaw and implemented training and technique sessions for Buffalo’s 30-man roster. At Buffalo he also managed the program’s social media platforms and promotional efforts and acted as the Development Events Coordinator for all alumni socials, awards banquets, clinics, and camps while facilitating alumni and donor stewardship and cultivation.

Turner also was responsible for maintaining all financial, insurance, and member information while operating the Bulls Wrestling Club and Regional Olympic Training Center. His efforts as the team’s academic liaison saw the overall team GPA rise from 2.799 to 2.952 in just two years. Turner was heavily involved in the Bulls’ recruiting efforts which received a 2016 FloWrestling Top Recruiting Classes Honorable mention distinction.

Turner’s introduction to collegiate coaching came at his alma mater, Lock Haven University in Lock Haven, Pa. where he served as assistant coach for two seasons (August 2013 to May 2015) under coach Scott Moore, following the conclusion of his athletic career.

He served as the Director of Mat-Town USA Wrestling Club in Lock Haven for one year beginning in May, 2014, helping to reactivate five dormant teams.

A 2014 graduate of Lock Haven with a Bachelor of Science in Health and Physical Education while minoring in Coaching, he was a four-year starter in the 285-pound weight class for the Bald Eagles’ Division I program. He concluded his NCAA career with 91 collegiate victories, winning the 2010 PSAC championship.

A 2008 graduate of Howell High School in Monmouth County in the powerhouse Shore Conference, he nearly won a state championship on the mat for the Rebels, finishing as the 2008 NJSIAA state runner-up at 285 pounds. He was a National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) All-American at 215 pounds and a FILA All-American in Greco-Roman in the same weight class.

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