Coach's efforts go beyond the game

BY BEN LUSCHEN Staff Writer bluschen@opubco.com Published: June 18, 2012
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Stacie Turbush sat by the pool, baking in the sun which hovered over Lone Wolf, Oklahoma. During the summer, Turbush works at the Quartz Mountain Water Slide.

With a whistle around her neck, she watches children climb to the top of the winding wooden steps and zip down the two-story slide into the pool below — smiling all the way. As a teacher and coach by trade, Turbush is familiar with youth's natural levity.

“I like being around kids,” Turbush said. “You know, in an office job you're going to see basically the same people every day. You don't get the interaction you do here with the younger generation.”

During the school year, Turbush spends her time teaching gym and coaching basketball and track at Altus Junior High School. Many of her students like to visit the water slide in the summer. The kids know not to step out of line when Coach Turbush is on duty.

“It makes it kind of easier because they know what I expect from them,” she said. “They don't try to do anything that they shouldn't do; they just mind their p's and q's and have a good time.”

Turbush lives with her husband Lonnie in Warren, OK, the same town she grew up in located outside of Blair. She graduated from Navajo School, which serves students from kindergarten to the 12th grade and is located a few miles east of Altus. Her parents both graduated from Navajo and her father was also part of the school's first graduating class in 1964.

During her time at Navajo, Turbush excelled at basketball and earned a scholarship to play at Western Oklahoma State College. Turbush, however, was forced to give up the sport she loved after tearing her ACL in the second game of her last high school season.

“At first I thought I could still play, so I tried to come back in,” she said. “When I went back in is when I tore it completely in two. We went back and watched videotape of the game and you could actually hear my ACL pop.”

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