Hawks Meet New Football Coach | prepare sports

Dizzyingly, a parent of a future Hanahan Hawks football player emerged from the school’s auditorium and essentially announced that he was ready to step into a time machine and put his helmet back on if he could.

The father, excited by what he heard, and a son had just listened in as new Hawks football coach Milan Turner first approached potential HHS players on Jan. 27 after being hired a few days earlier. The auditorium was packed to hear from the Hawks’ new football boss, and his message was well received.

“I liked it,” said Turner, who takes over from interim coach Steve Blanchard as Georgia Southern’s director of high school relations after one season. “It was a big crowd. I didn’t give them much time to reply. There were some important things I wanted to convey to them about our toughness, our discipline, and our unity. I wanted to talk about things like excellence, character and integrity. I wanted to talk to them about the building blocks of our program that don’t require talent, whether it’s ball or business. That is attitude and effort. We make that choice every day. I wanted to make sure they heard that from me. We talked about a standard and a culture. These are things we touch every day. I want them to understand that culture isn’t something on a t-shirt or something on a wall. You have to touch it every day.”

Turner has a 112-43 record, including a state title and a second-place finish in 13 seasons as head football coach in three Georgia high school programs. He was also with three other teams as an assistant coach in four other state title games. He transitioned into the Statesboro collegiate scene for a season, but felt compelled to return to the prep ranks.

“It was just the day-to-day relationships with the players,” Turner said. “There was some of that at the college level, but I missed the leadership and impact that you can have from that position on an entire program and on young people. They want to give them the toolbox of life to help them become the best version of themselves.”

As for between the lines, what philosophies will he use on both sides of the ball with Hanahan? He’ll know more after seeing the Hawks in the weight room and on the football field.

“That’s the big question,” Turner said. “I think everyone feels like my answer is kind of generic. We want to get a lot of points and not give up any, but we’ll come in here and assess the talent. We’re going to have a very diverse system because year after year you don’t know what kind of quarterback we have, what our offensive line looks like, what our skills look like.”

“The most important thing that I hope people will see is a mentally and physically strong team that is well prepared and plays with a lot of heart and class,” Turner added.

Last year’s Hawks started 4-0, 6-1 but went down the stretch and lost their final two regular-season games with 57 points aggregate and finished third in the 8-AAA region before falling at 29 en route to Brookland- Cayce dropped points in the first round of the playoffs.

The Hawks’ 2023 edition may bring back some key players, and Turner needs to work to fill the coaching staff. You have to take one step at a time and go through the process.

“There’s a lot of people who want to be here,” Turner said, “I can tell you that. I’ve had a lot of people from South Carolina and Georgia reaching out and expressing interest. We will have no problem attracting good people.”

That could also mean keeping some coaches who are already on the team.

Spring football is just around the corner. High school teams get full pads for 10 days in May after three days of helmets.

However, with a new trainer, spring training won’t just run through the moves. The Hawks will need it to adjust to new voices on the sidelines.

“I think it’s about looking ahead,” Turner said. “I don’t think you’re fighting the past. I think you leave it where it is and move on. You build around the guys you have here and your staff and put a stake in the ground the first day. It’s all about how we can get better from here and have a great year for everyone involved.”

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