Whit Turnbow, 29, is in his first year as Middle Tennessee's head coach after being named the program's sixth head coach by Director of Athletics Chris Massaro in July, 2007.
Although Turnbow is in its first season as head coach, he is no stranger to the program or Middle Tennessee's current group of players. He has been a substantial part of the Middle Tennessee golf program both as a player and assistant coach for nine years - four as a player and five seasons (2002-07) assisting the men's and women's programs.
Turnbow replaces long-time coach Johnny Moore, who was in the position 18 seasons and coached Turnbow. Massaro pointed toward Turnbow's leadership, recruiting ability and maturity when making the decision to elevate him to head coach.
"Whit has demonstrated exceptional leadership skills and proven to be a great recruiter as evidenced by the current group of Blue Raider golfers that he was responsible for recruiting and singing," Massaro said. "I believe Blue Raider fans are going to be pleased with the manner in which Whit leads this program. He has had the opportunity to play for and coach with a great mentor in Johnny Moore, who allowed Whit to handle more and more of the day-to-day responsibilities of running a program through the years, which has helped prepare him for this job."
Turnbow's Blue Raiders turned in a 38-19 mark against a rigorous fall schedule, capturing a team championship at the Jaguar Intercollegiate and finishing fifth out of 17 teams in the fall opener at the Scenic City Invitational. Turnbow's team came up big in its second tournament under him as a head coach when it shot an astounding 38-under 826 on the way to shattering the previous school record of 853 for best three-round tournament.
Turnbow was responsible for recruiting and signing each current Blue Raider golfer and each of them were in the program in 2007 when Middle Tennessee fashioned a 115-29-2 record and was ranked among the top 50 nationally in the Golfstat rankings. The 2007 Blue Raiders turned in 10 Top 5 finishes including finishing third or higher in the final six tournaments of the spring.
It should come as no surprise that Turnbow is vastly respected by his peers in coaching circles because of his contributions to the development of young talent.
In his first season as assistant coach (2003), Turnbow helped the Blue Raiders place in the Top 5 four times, including one tournament championship. In all, Middle Tennessee has enjoyed 20 Top 5 finishes during Turnbow's five years as an assistant coach. The Blue Raiders set what was then a school record for best tournament in 2004 when they shot a 14-under 274 at LSU. Middle Tennessee also won its first two tournaments since 2000 in 2003 and 2006, capuring the 2003 ULM Intercollegiate and the 2006 USF Intercollegiate.
Turnbow was a four-year letterwinner as a golfer at Middle Tennessee from 1996-to-2000, and he helped lead the 2000 team to the Ohio Valley Conference Championship and a berth in the NCAA Regional.
The Blue Raiders were ranked 45th nationally after winning the OVC. Golfweek Magazine ranked Middle Tennessee 46th and MasterCard Collegiate had the team ranked 50th, marking the first time in program history that the Blue Raiders ended the season ranked in the Top 50 in both major polls.
During his playing career at Middle Tennessee, Turnbow played in 31 tournaments with three Top 10 finishes. He maintained a 76.4 scoring average throughout his four years. He debuted with two Top 10 finishes as a Blue Raider - finishing tied for ninth at the USF/Ron Smith Invitational and a sixth-place finish at the Southern Junior/Senior. He competed in all 11 tournaments as a sophomore and shot a career-low round of 69 at the USF/Ron Smith Invitational, good enough to place him eighth in the tournament. He managed to own the lowest scoring average on the team (75) despite being one of the youngest players on the squad. His success continued into his junior year, when he again fired a career-low 69 at the Matlock Invitational.
He also had a round of 70 at the Fall Beach Classic, where he finished 20th. He competed in eight tournaments during his senior year, including the team's victory at the OVC Championships and the NCAA East Regional.
Following his collegiate playing days, Turnbow spent three years (2000-02) competing professionally. He participated in the Hooters, Hurricane, and Developmental Players tours.
Turnbow was named the TrueTemper/TPGA Assistant Professional Player of the Year in 2001. He was the low professional at the Tennessee Open in 2001 and 2007 and placed fifth at the Harold Eller Pro-Am, the Coca-Cola Open, and the Wilson Ez-Go Open. He was also low pro at the 2006 Honors/Council Fire Pro-Am. During his professional time, Turnbow worked at Lakewood Golf and Country Club in Tullahoma, Tenn., as an assistant to Chuck Lynch. He was the Junior Golf Director at Lakewood and started the first Junior Program at the Fayetteville Country Club.
Turnbow is certified as a golf conditioning specialist by GMP Fitness, and he was nominated for the TaylorMade/Adidas National Assistant Coach of the Year award in 2004.
Turnbow's experience on the course provide a great deal of assistance and he continues to maintain the winning tradition at Middle Tennessee. Turnbow and his wife, Lori, have a newborn baby daughter named Reagan. They reside in Murfreesboro. Lori, a physical education teacher at Bellwood Discovery School, is a 2000 graduate of Middle Tennessee.