Emanuel County Institute head football coach Milan Turner has accepted the head coach position at Thomson, where he will also act as athletic director.
Turner replaces Luther Welsh, who announced his retirement from the same position before the 2010 season. Welsh led the Bulldogs to a 9-3 record and a GHSA Region 3N-AAA championship in his last season at THS.
Turner, ECI’s coach for six seasons, built a dynasty in Twin City. Under Turner, the ECI Bulldogs appeared in two Class A state championship games, winning it all in 2007 against Wilcox County in a 15-0 season. The Bulldogs lost to Wesleyan in the 2008 state title game, 33-21, and finished 14-1.
Turner coached three-straight 10-0 regular seasons from 2006-08 and finished his career at ECI with a 65-12 record.
"It's very bittersweet to leave ECI," said Turner. "It was my first head coaching job, and I invested a lot of my life into this program and these kids. I'd especially like to thank the ECI community and the Bulldog fans for all of their support over the years."
With the exception of 2009, Thomson has made the state playoffs each of the last 10 years, and finished the 2002 season 15-0 with a Region 3-AAAA title and a Class AAAA state championship against Thomas County Central.
"I'm very excited about the opportunity to be the head coach at Thomson,” Turner said. “It's a great community, and I felt like the Lord was leading me to a new challenge."
Sources close to the situation report that a member of Turner’s staff, Ron Flott, the offensive backs coach/offensive coordinator at ECI and former Southeast Bulloch head coach, has accepted the head coach position at Long County.
Turner’s replacement at ECI is expected to be announced after a school board meeting on Monday. Though not involved in the final decision, Turner speculated that defensive coordinator Chris Kearson would be named the next ECI head coach.
Herald videographer Vince Johnson contributed to this report.