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Carolina Panthers

Turner following father's footsteps


CHARLOTTE - In elementary school, Scott Turner came to think that winning in the NFL was mere child's play.

In the years that followed, though, Turner got an education in the school of hard knocks, and now the 28-year-old has worked his way into his first NFL job.

Turner, the son of longtime NFL coach Norv Turner, is the Panthers' new offensive quality control coach. When he was 10 years old, his father was offensive coordinator for the Dallas Cowboys, and the younger Turner watched with wide eyes as the Cowboys claimed back-to-back Super Bowl titles.

"That's where I got the misconception that football was easy," Turner said. "Then my dad gets the head coaching job at Washington and went 3-13 the first year. I thought, 'What's going on here? I thought we were supposed to win the Super Bowl every year.'"

Scott Turner soon realized that hard work was required to even have a shot at winning in the NFL, while also discovering that he wanted to pursue that path.

He realized it even before his parents did.

"My mom and dad would always come up with different ideas, and I'd always shrug them off because I knew what I wanted to do," Turner said. "I just couldn't imagine having a life that didn't involve football almost every day. There's nothing else I have as much of a passion for."

In his childhood, his father was his teacher. While his father always jumped through hoops to make it to every one of his oldest son's high school football games, Scott Turner soaked in whatever knowledge he could from his father, who recently completed his fourth season as head coach of the San Diego Chargers.

"My dad was always watching games, so I'd watch with him, and then I'd ask questions and learn," Turner said. "I just learned to love the game. It was a genuine thing, not something that was pushed on me. It's something we loved to do together, a way to spend time with my dad."

When Turner excelled enough as a quarterback at Oakton High School in Vienna, Va., to draw interest from college football programs, he found another mentor in University of Nevada Las Vegas head coach John Robinson, who won a national championship and four Rose Bowls at Southern California.

"I was fortunate enough to play college football, and a big part of my decision on where I went to play was going somewhere with a coach I could learn from," Turner said. "John Robinson is a legendary coach. I got a degree in psychology, but I felt like my education for what I wanted to do was going to meetings every day and going to practice."

Recognizing that his football playing days were at an end - he played sparingly as a reserve quarterback for the Rebels – Turner turned his attention to coaching. He served as a graduate assistant at Oregon State in 2005 and coached for two years on the high school level before accepting an offensive assistant position at the University of Pittsburgh in 2008.

Turner was elevated to wide receivers coach in 2010, mentoring receiver Jon Baldwin, a first-round pick in the recent NFL Draft. The Pitt coaching staff was let go following last season, but Panthers first-year head coach Ron Rivera – who worked with Norv Turner the previous three seasons in San Diego – soon contacted Scott Turner about the team's offensive quality control spot.

"I always knew at some point I wanted to coach in the NFL," Turner said. "I'd like to be a head coach someday down the road and win championships - I don't think that's much different than anyone else - but right now I love being here in Carolina.

"Charlotte is a great city, and I enjoy the people I work with. I'm ready to go win some games."

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