August 27, 2018 01:46 PM
In his five years coaching the Eagan girls soccer team, Bulut "Turk" Ozturk has helped them earn a national ranking and three State titles in the last four years. Now, he'll try to guide the Eagan boys to similar success, while still coaching the girls team.
Click the video box on this page to see KSTP Sports' story on "Turk" Ozturk's new dual role, and how his former and current players handled the news he'd be splitting his time between them
The Eagan girls are the defending state champions after winning back-to-back state titles in 2014 and 2015.
They won last year's title in thrilling fashion, scoring the Championship-winning goal with six-seconds left in the game.
While it's not unusual in some high school sports - track and swimming are most common - it's rare for a coach in team sports to run both a boys and girls program at once.
Ozturk had been wondering if it would be possible to run both the girls and boys programs. He told KSTP Sports when Eagan's former boys coach retired, "I said 'Well, this is my cue'".
The big hurdle would be figuring out if practice plans and game schedules tcould mesh.
"A lot of planning went into it," Ozturk said. "We had a lot of great coaches who were willing to work with me as well and willing to move games around and make this thing work."
After realizing practice and game schedules could be resolved, Ozturk pitched Eagan athletic director Sandra Setter Larsen on the idea - but also asked for the blessing from the girls team.
"I had to ask permission from my girls, that's for sure," Ozturk said. "I wanted to make sure they were comfortable. That they understood what I was trying to do, what I wanted to do with bringing both programs together and having that cohesiveness between them."
"He talked us through and we were like, 'ehhh', kinda nervous," said Eagan girls team goalie Megan Plaschko. "We were nervous he wouldn't be able to continue the time and effort with us because we know that's one part that makes us so successful."
"But, when he laid out the plan, there'd be no overlap, he had a plan figured out - it was very settling," Plaschko said. "It made us all feel a lot better knowing he had a plan and thought through this well. He reassured us I've been coaching you guys - my 5th year, I'm not gonna up and leave you, you'll still be the same team you've always been, the same priority. I'll still give you the same effort. After that talk, it was settling. It's exciting. I think the boys are super excited too."
With a job offer and full support from the girls, Ozturk set out to instill a State Championship mentality in the Eagan boys team that includes infamous three-hour practices during which Turk logs covers as much as three-and-a-half miles per session.
His new team welcomed him with open arms.
"He sent us a powerpoint that he used in his interview, he had everything laid out, down to a T, he was so deep into planning it... it looked perfect," said Hunter Goff, a senior on the boys team. "I said, 'There's no way the guy doesn't get the job'. It'll be awesome."
While each team entered the new season with different goals and expectations, Ozturk feels good about both his teams.
"Standards are high," Ozturk said. "There's a lot of pressure to get these boys and girls to be successful. I want both to be successful. I'm gonna give it my all and at the end of the day they're gonna give their all, I'm gonna give my all... and I think from personal experience we'll be happy with the outcome."
Created: August 27, 2018 01:46 PM
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