After 18 years, my high school coach, mentor and good friend Chris Turner stepped down last weekend as Forsyth Country Day School’s head boys and girls soccer coach. I’m sure it was an emotional and bittersweet day for him. When I heard the news, it got me thinking about him and what he’s meant to me.

You see, I’m a huge believer in mentors.

We need others, those who have been where we are and where we’re going, to come along side us to help us navigate this thing called life. Coach Turner has been one of those men in my life. As some of you know, I was sent away to a school for troubled teens when I was sixteen. I was a rather wild child who got into some bad stuff at a young age. I stayed at this school for a year and half, until I was 18. When it was time for me to come home, my parents were looking to enroll me at Forsyth Country Day School where Coach Turner was the head soccer coach. On one of my home visits coach came over to our house to meet with my parents and me. I’ll never forget it. I remember him sitting on the couch in our living room like it was yesterday. I don’t recall exactly all that we talked about, but what was communicated was loud and clear. In every way, he showed that he cared. And that meant the world to me!

From that day on, Coach Turner has been a friend and mentor.

Through the good and bad times he’s always been there for me. And to this day I know that I can count on him if I ever need anything. They say that second to parents, coaches are the most influential people in kids’ lives. I believe that wholeheartedly! I can only imagine how many other players who have played for Coach Turner feel the same way I do. No doubt, it’s many. So for myself and on behalf of all those who you’ve influenced along the way, THANK YOU COACH! Thanks for caring. Thanks for all your encouragement, sacrifice, support and love. Thanks for being you!

You rock and I love ya!

By Wells Thompson