Former Cyclone, current CU player Turley excels at making people proud


Adam Turley
  
  Nancy Turley spends her weekdays teaching grade-school children at Cloudland Elementary in Roan Mountain. They do the pluses and take-aways and then she leads them through many other rudiments of a sound education. But that's her day job.
  "Miss Turley" has been teaching children -- her own, sons Adam and Chase -- for over 18 years now. She quickly downplays her role in the development of her children.
  "I don't see what I've done that's so noteworthy," Nancy said. "I'm just that lady in the stands. I just wanted to do what was right for my sons."
  While discussing the recent success of her oldest son, she replied, "Ask me about my son Adam and first you'll get a big smile from me, then I'll talk to you all day."
  So many friends and relatives remember Nancy, the single mom who showed up with toddlers in hand every week for Sunday school. She saw to it that her boys were grounded in Christian values.
  "Football can be taken away at any moment, and I just wanted them to know what's most important in life," Nancy said.
  That's not to say that the boys' dad, Randy Turley, now of Clinton, Illinois, had nothing to do with his sons' talents; and the genetics are certainly there as well.
  Randy played football at the semi-pro level for the Music City Bulldogs in Nashville more years ago than he'd like to remember. He was training with the Houston Oilers before other things took higher priority. And Randy's nephew, Kyle Turley is also a professional athlete.
  "I needed to make a living, and I knew that there were no guarantees, so I gave up football and got a job driving a bus," he said.
  Well, not just any bus. Randy Turley drove for the rock band Duran Duran, and even for John Madden.
  "I drove him to all corners of the country," stated Randy. "Could have stayed with Madden when he got his personal bus, but I had already accepted another contract."
  Randy describes his son Adam as one with "great focus."
  His mother concurs. "He walks right past me on the way to the playing field on game days," she said. "But then after the game he's all smiles, so friendly, so loving; nothing but hugs and kisses. He just says, 'Mom, I have to be really focused, ready for what has to be done on the field.'"
  Randy occasionally sees his sons, and expects to be in Elizabethton for at least part of the holiday season.
  "I got to see his games, and yes, how could I not be very proud of him?" stated Adam's father. "And Chase, man, he really blows past those blockers." The Turley athletic tradition continues.
  However, not all of Adam's athletic ability is paternal. Nancy's late father, Willard was a great athlete at EHS. His uncle, Andy O'Quinn, was a star wide-out for the Cyclones during the 1992-95 seasons and also helped Adam with pass-routes and so forth.
  "Uncle" Harold Stout was himself a great athlete and his days as head baseball coach at Milligan College are legendary.
  Stout was more than eager to talk about his great-nephews. "Where should I begin?" Stout asked. "When you can start with a kid who is smart, listens, and has the concentration and determination, well, it's a big plus for sure. Adam has all of those qualities."
  "But the real strength of Adam and Chase comes from their wonderful mother," Stout continued. "Nancy. Gosh, I don't know if you have time to listen to all the good things I can say about my precious niece. She's a truly remarkable woman. She had the love and the foresight to see that her sons were academically sound."
  Harold Stout told about how Nancy had always insisted that they learn the most important thing that any kid, athlete or not, should know: "She made certain that they learned about our Loving Savior. Yes sir, she saw to it that they had the greatest loves known to mankind: the love of Jesus, and of course, the love of their mother. I cringe at the thought of where they might be without her."
  Adam has taken his talents on to the next level. He was the only one of 63 freshmen to even make the roster to begin the season for the Fighting Tigers of Campbellsville University, located in the city of Campbellsville, in South-Central Kentucky.
  "We left Elizabethton after Chase played on Friday night and drove up to Campbellsville to say hi to Adam after the game," said Nancy. "I was almost in shock when I noticed that he was actually out on the field during warm-ups. So we got a program and took a look to make sure that that was really him, really my son out there with the varsity squad."
  So what happened next? Well, sure enough mom found Adam's name on the roster, but not where she had expected.
  "I was so proud of my son already, Nancy said. "But not that he was with the varsity. I was so happy for him because I've always known how determined he was to play football in college. He had said for years that he was going to play football on scholarship. I was there to see his dream come true. That was satisfaction enough for me."
  But then an even bigger surprise occurred.
  "Well, I was just looking for his name on the main list," Nancy said. "And then I just glanced up and, 'oh my,' there he was in the starting lineup, at free-safety. He hadn't breathed a word of it to me. Every time I had asked him how things were going, he would say, OK, I guess, mom."
  Adam's secondary coach is Cincinnati, Ohio, native David Poole, who, after playing his freshman season at UT, transferred to Carson-Newman, where he twice made All American, three times played for and twice won national championship games.
  Poole knows a thing or two about getting to play early at the collegiate level.
  "Adam was going to be good; I knew that while recruiting him," said Poole. "But he's certainly exceeded our expectations.
  "He's gained some speed (with plenty of help from Poole, who is also the Campbellsville head track coach). He improved on the little things that have to do with running: technique, stride, body lean and even learning to relax a little while running, which is quite important.
  "He has tremendous focus. Adam's what we call a silent leader who leads by example"
  When prompted for an example of Adam's courage and leadership, Poole responded, "Let's just say that when he hit a player during practice, and literally put a huge dent in the guy's facemask, it answered all questions about Adam Turley."
  That facemask now sits on Poole's desk, where it will stay until Adam leaves Campbellsville.
  The best is yet to come, according to Poole. "We fully expect Adam to be even better next season," he said. "After our off-season program and weight training I'm sure Adam will be remarkably improved."
  Adam played three games with a slightly separated shoulder.
  "He said nothing about it," said Poole. "But we look for things like that during film review and we noticed some problems with technique and so forth, so we had a little talk with him."
  Adam still insists it was "no big deal; something we all have to live with at times." Well, it wasn't the first such time. He played his junior season at EHS with a fractured ankle, having it X-rayed only after the season.
  "It's been great up here in Campbellsville," Turley said. "The coaching staff, the instructors, my teammates; we all support each other 100 percent. We're a tight-knit organization. And Coach Poole, well, he means the world to me."
  But Adam's commitment to football didn't begin in the Bluegrass State.
  "No sir," Adam was quick to point out. "Playing football for Coach (Eddie) Pless and the Cyclones was such a thrill, and an honor. It's the way the coaching staff is working, not just for the wins and loses, but they're there for each player, 24, 7. The Cyclones are going to continue to be heard from."
  Pless referred to Adam simply as, "A coach's dream. We still benefit from the attitude and work ethic Adam brought to the football field while here."
  "Growing up with Vince Redd, Walter Brown and Adam's roommate at Campbellsville, Lester Bailey, kept Adam at his best, athletically," said his Mom. "Adam and Vince often talk on the phone, exchanging encouragement for the upcoming game and in other things of interest."
  Adam formed fond memories during his days as a Cyclone. But the fondest is of his former coach, the late Tommy Jenkins.
  "I'm so thankful that I got to spend an afternoon on his porch just before his passing," Adam said. "We talked about so many things: football, God, life, my studies."
  Nancy Turley said that Adam still considers receiving the Bulldog Laws award from mentor and past recipient, Jenkins, the biggest thrill of his life.
  Adam's football gloves and wristbands are initialed with the letters "T.J."
  "That's just a reminder of the man that taught me so much about the game and about life," he said. "He was always a caring, loving friend and mentor."
  Chase Turley is quick to compliment his big brother.
  "He's a great guy," said Chase. "We've brawled before like brothers do, but we're over that now. I think the best thing about Adam is that he sets a good example. He has nothing to do with drugs, and today that's so important. I look up to him for that and of course for lots of other things as well."
  Adam Turley is a naturally gifted, hard-working athlete, blessed with support on the field, at school and community-wide.
  "But mom is my biggest love," Turley stated. "She's gone through so much to help me prepare for life. I can't begin to tell you what she means to me, and of how very much I love her."
  Bet that brings a smile to her face.