Savannah-Chatham County Public School System

Woodville-Tompkins Gymnasium Dedication in Honor of Coach Joe Turner

Published on: 6/28/2023

On Wednesday, June 28, 2023, district staff, BOE members, and Woodville-Tompkins High School alumni and staff gathered at the school to celebrate the dedication of the Woodville-Tompkins Gymnasium in honor of former Coach Joseph J. Turner.

Coach Joe Turner gained stardom at Savannah State College before launching a career as a football coach and athletic director at Tompkins High School. An All-Conference player, Turner captained SSC's football team in the early 1950s and was the institution's Man of the Year in 1952.

After graduation, Turner accepted a coaching position at Tompkins High School. There he coached football, basketball, and track. His football teams won three state crowns (1960, 1961, and 1964) and five region championships (1960, 1961, 1964, 1967, and 1973). He was named Georgia High School “Coach of the Year" seven times in a career that featured a won-loss record of 204-101-4 in the high school ranks. Turner later served as athletic director until his retirement in 1981.

A member of the Savannah State Hall of Fame and the Greater Savannah Athletic Hall of Fame, Turner coached such standout athletes as Olympic Gold Medalist Lucinda Williams Adams, Miami Dolphins football players Johnny Holmes and Hubert Ginn and Seattle Seahawk Edwin Bailey.

Members of Coach Turner's family traveled from Atlanta to be here for the dedication.  His granddaughter Natasha Alim helped unveil a bust of her grandfather that will be displayed in a case outside the entrance to the gym.  Former Tompkins Coach Stanley Rivers and former Tompkins student athlete and Olympic Gold Medalist Lucinda Williams Adams also joined in the celebration, sharing their memories of Coach Turner. 

See more photos from the event here.

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