With football season just weeks away, Long Beach Poly will have a familiar face roaming the sideline for the upcoming season. Longtime defensive coordinator Jeff Turley has returned to the Jackrabbits, where he’ll serve as the assistant head coach and defensive line assistant.
Turley was defensive coordinator for the Jackrabbits for a decade under Raul Lara, serving on his five Division 1 CIF-SS champion staffs as an integral member of the staff and a finalist to replace Lara after his departure. Turley has been the head coach at Marina High for the last six years, and said he was happy to be returning home to Poly to help out.
“It was like coming home, I still had stuff in my closet so I dusted it off and got it back on,” he said with a laugh. “It was amazing to come out here and see this all-weather track and a turf field, I was like, ‘where’s the dirt?’”
Poly coach Stephen Barbee said he was thrilled to have Turley on staff.
“We’ve had a real good relationship since I got here, when he was the head coach at Marina, and when the opportunity came up to bring him back–you don’t pass up on good coaches,” he said. “I’m really happy to have him back in the green and gold. I think he’s gonna be an incredible addition to our staff.”
Turley brings high-level Xs and Os knowledge but also ingrained knowledge of the Poly football history in the 2000s, having been defensive signal-caller for several lights-out defenses, including the Poly defense that led them to a 2-0 win in the CIF-SS semifinals over Orange Lutheran, with a safety the team’s only points.
For Turley, being back at Poly has unlocked a lot of great memories, and he’s been excited at being able to work with Jackrabbit-level talent again.
“I always said speed kills, having kids that can really run and strengthen what you’re running and putting the whole thing together, it really opens it up,” he said. “I can go back to running some defenses that I haven’t really been able to (at Marina).”
Turley enjoyed his time as a head coach, but after some health issues said he was looking forward to the purity of helping out without having all the responsibilities of being the head man.
“That was one of the things we talked about, like you don’t have to worry about all the fundraising, you don’t have to talk to everyone, I can just get back to coaching kids and doing the parts of the job that I love,” said Turley. “That’s a big relief.”
Turley will help newly-promoted defensive coordinator Daniel Singh to lead a talented Poly defense this year that features All-American Dylan Williams, a linebacker who’s a recent Oregon commit, as well as several key returners including Josh “Noodles” Cason, Troy Tamasoa, Isaac Johnson, and a very talented defensive backfield.
“We’ve got some stars, there’s some guys who shine for sure,” he said.
He’ll also be coaching alongside some former Jackrabbit players who were on teams that he coached, including Marcus Falanai, Josiah Blandin, Romeo Robinson, and Matt Rowe.
“It’s great to see the coach player relationship 10-15 years removed from when the kid is playing and now he’s a coach too, there’s still that love,” said Barbee. “Turley’s a Poly guy and it’s great to have him back in the fold. I love seeing him here walking the field and influencing another generation of Long Beach Poly football players.”