Most of Curtis Turley’s life has involved basketball.
He played it for quite a while. He coached it for a very long time. He’s been an ambassador of the game in every aspect for many, many years.
With everything Turley has brought to the sport — especially his coaching at the high school level — he’s now receiving the recognition he very much deserves as he was one of the 12 inductees into the 2019 Kentucky High School Basketball Hall of Fame.
Turley was officially inducted Saturday in a ceremony at the State Theatre, joining a prestigious list of highly recognized former coaches and players that excelled at the game in the Bluegrass State.
“Really, it’s indescribable,” Turley said of being a Hall of Famer. “To me, it’s a tremendous honor and super exciting, but it’s a group honor. It’s for my family and friends — starting with my mom and dad that supported me all those years — and certainly all the players and coaches that have played for me and coached with me. Also, just all the people that have encouraged you along the way.
“To be included with the tremendous athletes and coaches that have already been inducted and are being inducted this year and for future generations is a tremendous honor. It’s just a special time – and this is a special, special occasion.”
Turley knew from a young age what he wanted to do — and that was to coach basketball. There was just something about the sport that made him know that he one day wanted to be on the sidelines calling plays and directing teams.
The young Turley never changed his career choice, instead sticking to his original plan and going on to put together a 32-season, highly successful career as a high school basketball coach in Kentucky.
Compiling an overall record of 624-321, a win total that ranks him in the top 15 on the Kentucky High School Athletic Association’s all-time coaching wins list, Turley made career stops at Berea, Collins, Daviess County, Graves County, Greenwood, Henderson County, Lexington Catholic, Louisville Manual, Lyon County, Shelby County, Warren Central and Warren East.
Turley, now 65, led four of those schools to the Sweet 16; Warren Central twice in 1982 and ’83, Henderson County in 1990 and Daviess County in 2003.
“It was just something special,” said Turley. “I can remember as a little kid when my parents took me to my first basketball game that I remembered – I’m sure I’d maybe gone to one or two before that — but I just remember the excitement of the game, watching the players, watching the coach interaction and I just loved the game.
“I can remember in the first grade when everyone’s going around saying, ‘I wanna be a fireman, I wanna be a policeman,’ I wanted to be a basketball coach. I’ve been privileged to get to do that.”
In addition to his 32 years at the high school level, Turley also spent time on the Western Kentucky University women’s basketball staff from 2011-2013, serving as director of operations for the 2011-12 season and an assistant coach in 2012-13.
With everything Turley’s been able to accomplish in his coaching career, capping it off with his name listed in the KHSBHF is very fitting.
“I’ve had a blessed life and a blessed career to get to do what you’ve dreamed of doing when you were a young kid and get to do that throughout your lifetime and be involved with a sport that I love the most has just been a tremendous blessing,” he said.