Mike Turk enters his third season at the University of Illinois coaching the jumps, throws and multi-events. Turk is well known as one of the top field event coaches in the country, and is especially heralded for his development of athletes in the throwing events. Turk has accumulated over 20 years of coaching experience at the collegiate level, including 16 years at the NCAA Division I level.
In 2007 under Turk, Nick Brown continued his success at the conference championships by finishing second in the long jump and fourth in the triple jump at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and third in both events at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. Brown also competed in the long and triple jumps at the NCAA Mideast Regional. Turk helped guide high jumper Greg Shroka to a successful rookie campaign, as Shroka scored as a redshirt freshman at the Big Ten Championships and qualified for the NCAA Mideast Regional. Multi-event athlete Andrew Zollner also came on strong, taking sixth in the decathlon and ninth in the heptathlon at the confrence meets. In addition, Chad Gridley improved his personal-best in the discus by over 20 feet.
Although 2006 was Turk's first year with the Fighting Illini, he made an immediate impact on the program. His athletes crashed the record books with nine all-time top ten performances in Illini history, with the season highlighted by the outstanding achievements of Brown. Under Turk's leadership, Brown was an NCAA Championships qualifier in the long jump and triple jump indoor and in the triple jump outdoor, earning All-America honors in the long jump indoor and the triple jump outdoor.
Prior to coming to Illinois, Turk spent six years coaching the men's track and field and cross country program at Western Michigan University. As head coach, he led the 2003 Broncos to a top-20 ranking in the NCAA Division I Team Power Ranking (USTCA). Turk was named the 2003 Central Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in cross country and the 2004 Central Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year in outdoor track. In six years at Western Michigan, Turk coached two All-Americans, three school record holders, seven NCAA Qualifiers, a conference record holder and All-Mid American Conference performers in the long jump, triple jump, high jump, shot put, discus, hammer and decathlon.
Prior to joining Western Michigan's program, Turk was the assistant coach for both Marquette University and the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee's men's and women's track and field programs. While at Marquette, Turk coached several All-Americans and NCAA qualifiers, including the school's first ever women's indoor NCAA qualifier and first ever men's indoor NCAA All-American. Upon his departure from Marquette, Turk's athletes had set 27 school records. While at Wisconsin Milwaukee, Turk coached numerous NAIA All-Americans including the 1989 NAIA outdoor 800m national champion.
Turk is a USATF Level II certified coach in the jumps and throws and as an instructor. He is a part of the USATF Coaches Education Level II staff and helped co-author the USATF Level II Throws curriculum. Turk is a popular clinician and has spoken at numerous clinics throughout the country. He is also a lead instructor at the prestigious Ironwood Throws Development Camp, organized the King of the Ring Throws Clinic and has authored several articles.
As a student-athlete at Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., Turk received his bachelor's degree in Physical Education in 1985. Turk earned his degree while competing on the varsity track and field team. He was the 1984 CCIW Conference Champion in the shot put.
Turk and his wife, Lori, reside in Mahomet and have three children, daughters Hannah (11) and Payton (6) and a son, Sam (8).