By Mark Schremmer
Globe Sports Writer
Warren Turner believes that any award he receives for his years as a baseball coach is the product of a lot of hard work by numerous people.
Missouri Southern’s longtime coach was one of 10 individuals named to the MIAA Hall of Fame’s Class of 2013, the conference announced Thursday.
“When I got it, I immediately thought of all the people who’ve helped me over the years,” Turner said. “I’m receiving it for all the people — Wendell Redden (former Joplin Globe sports editor), all the coaches, all the players.”
The induction ceremony will be June 6 at the Kansas City Public Library in Kansas City, Mo. Along with Turner, the class will include Pittsburg State wide receiver Ronnie West, Central Missouri men’s basketball coach Gene Bartow, Northwest Missouri women’s basketball player Janet Clark, Central Missouri distance runner Mark Curp, Central Missouri softball and volleyball coach Peggy Martin, Northwest Missouri women’s basketball coach Sherri Reeves, Lincoln men’s basketball player Harold Robertson, Missouri Western and Central Missouri men’s basketball coach Tom Smith, basketball official Bill Westbrook, the 2003 Central Missouri baseball team, the 2009 Northwest Missouri football team and the 2004-05 Washburn women’s basketball team.
Turner is the all-time wins leader in the history of Missouri Southern baseball and 15th all-time in NCAA history with 852. During his tenure from 1977-2007, Turner led the Lions to five national tournaments. His 1978 team finished second to Emporia State in the NAIA World Series, and Turner earned NAIA National Coach of the Year honors that season. Missouri Southern advanced to the NAIA World Series in 1986 and 1987 and finished seventh and fifth, respectively.
He directed the Lions to an NCAA Division II World Series runner-up finish in 1991 and to a fifth-place finish in 1992. Turner led Missouri Southern to MIAA south division championships in 1990, 1991 and 1992 and MIAA titles in 1991 and 1992.
Turner said switching from the NAIA to the MIAA improved the program.
“When we went to the MIAA, we had to step up the program,” he said. “We had to get a lot better to compete at the level. They made us better. It’s a great organization, and there are a lot of great schools in there.”
West captured the Harlon Hill Award as the NCAA Division II national player of the year in 1991, leading the Gorillas to the national championship. He caught 74 passes for 1,495 yards and 14 touchdowns that season, setting the MIAA single-season receiving record that season. He finished his career at Pitt State with 123 receptions for 2,521 yards and 27 touchdowns.
He was selected by the Minnesota Vikings in the ninth round of the 1992 NFL Draft, but his professional career was cut short by a knee injury.