Coach Barry Turner gets a caress from Fern Rajic at the conclusion of the ceremony to dedicate the new Barry Turner Field at the Hillview Soccer Facility in the Tustin Unified School District. / PHOTO BY LEONARD ORTIZ, THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Barry Turner can't talk anymore. Lou Gehrig 's disease has taken that from him. But the former Foothill boys soccer coach didn't need words to show how he felt to have the Knights' new soccer field named in his honor on Monday.
His tears told the story.
“I know he is really happy. And there is nothing better when dealing with a terminal illness than to know that he is happy,” Turner's wife, Leanne Turner, said. “You can live 100 years and never get to know what you meant to other people. Luckily Barry gets to see all of that.”
At least 100 people including members of the Knights boys soccer team and school district officials watched as a Foothill flag was pulled off of a bronze plaque that detailed all of Turner's accomplishments during his 23 years coaching the Knights. It stands alongside Barry Turner Field, which is part of a $4.5 million athletic complex built across the street from Foothill High on the Hillview High School campus, where Turner used to teach.
“We want to play for Barry. We want to win for Barry. We hope to win and go to CIF and win CIF for Barry,” said Nathan Brown, the Knights' senior goal keeper. “This has been tough, but we are getting through it. It is hard. Really hard. In our hearts we still consider him the coach. I know I always will.”
For almost a half hour after the ceremony, former players, students, parents and school officials, walked up to Turner's wheelchair to congratulate him on the honor and reminisce. Emotions overwhelmed him at times and son, Daley Turner, often had to wipe away his tears.
Daley also read some comments at the end of the ceremony which were written by his father even though he is paralyzed. Leanne said Barry uses an “incredible piece of equipment” that allows him to write by using his eyes. His eyes, she said, moves a cursor on a keyboard and when he blinks that clicks the mouse button.
“This is inspirational. Of all of the people in our community, he has probably had the greatest impact on the most people,” Hillview High School principal Tim O'Donoghue “If there is anyone that deserves this honor, it's Barry.”