Hometown native Phillip Turner embraced his new role in Hope Public Schools as Hope Co-Activities Director and Bobcat head football coach to Lions Club members on Monday afternoon.

Hometown native Phillip Turner embraced his new role in Hope Public Schools as Hope Co-Activities Director and Bobcat head football coach to Lions Club members on Monday afternoon. 

Turner enlightened everyone about the excitement of returning to his hometown roots and coaching football at his alma mater.

He expressed how important academics and taking care of business in the classroom to stay eligible to participate in athletics helps student-athletic programs gain success. He stressed thoroughly with high emphasis to build back up the football program with much needed support from the community.

Turner feels blessed to have this new role and strongly believes he was led by faith to be back at a place and position that's always been a dream and goal in life.

"I feel I was led by faith and wanted the lord to put me where I need to be," Turner said.

He didn't promise a winning season this up coming 2018 football season, but Turner addressed on trying to develop better kids to be great citizens of Hope. He's always supported the Bobcats throughout the years coaching in Queen City, Texas and the previous six football seasons in Ashdown as a proud former Bobcat.

Turner knows a lot of work and dedication with patience will be applied in his act of duty as the commander-in-chief of the football program, but looks forward to the challenge with belief everyone will buy into it for commitment. 

He commented about discipline in the program and if the student-athletes are discipline of taking care of business in the classroom as well on the field, football will be enjoyable. He wants kids to have fun and enjoy playing football and thus far they're enjoying the opportunity to start fresh with excitement this up coming season.

The Bobcats aim to be a up tempo style playing team this fall. Turner said they'll be young with a lot of talent in the sophomore class with some new faces joining the squad as upperclassmen.

Turner addressed Lions club members how hard the Bobcats have worked thus far in their summer workouts. He said they have 15 mandatory workouts in the June and performed well in their first competition of the summer in 7-on-7 tournament hosted at Benton H.S. football stadium earlier this month.

Following dead week, the Cats will be very busy in July as they were invited to compete in 7-on-7 tournament hosted in Malvern July 11 and scheduled to host team camp in Hope July 17 at Hammons Stadium. He also mentioned about the junior high competing in 7-on-7 competitions in July for their workouts this summer. Turner invited everyone to come out watch the Bobcats in action against several other top football programs in their team camp on July 17 at Hammons Stadium for a early taste of things to anticipate from the hometown Cats in the fall.

Turner introduced his Bobcat football assistant coaching staff of Doug Means (offensive coordinator), Josh Marshall (defensive coordinator), Zac Hoglund, Anthony Meeker, Jonathan Turner and the addition of Kris Nichols, former coach in Ashdown and Pleasant Grove, Texas.

Turner has been pleased by the work ethic and job production thus far from the Bobcat assistant coaching staff. He appreciates their dedication and efforts working with the Bobcats the attempt to build back up the program for success.

The Bobcats will have another challenging football season for 2018. Turner knows his first year will be tough, but looks for the Bobcats to compete well during the 2018 football season. 

Turner will officially make his season debut coaching the Bobcats at home for Hope's season-opener hosting their longtime rivals Nashville Aug. 31, then back at home Sept. 7 facing his former team Ashdown and ending non-conference schedule Sept. 14 against rivals' Prescott for their first road game. 

The 5A South Conference will welcome two new clubs that look to be the top-two teams in league play of Arkansas-High Texarkana and Little Rock McClellan. Turner said Arkansas-High will be senior level deep with high expectations to be one of the favorites as a state championship caliber contender. McClellan has played in the Class 5A state finals two of the previous three seasons as state runner-up (2015, 2017) to Pulaski Academy.

The Cats open conference play Sept. 21 at De Queen and return home for their conf. home-opener Sept. 28 hosting Hot Springs on Homecoming at Hammons Stadium. The Trojans also just hired a new coach to take over Hot Springs football program and look to be a threat. On Oct. 5, the Cats head to Little Rock to face McClellan, then back home Oct. 12 hosting Hot Springs Lakeside. Hope travels to Camden-Fairview Oct. 19, then home Oct. 26 hosting Arkansas-High on Senior Night at Hammons Stadium and finish up conference season Nov. 2 at Magnolia.

Thus far, Turner has around 50 kids eligible to participate and they're showing excitement. He plans for them to be active in the community and hopes the support will be there from the hometown fans again during his era as Bobcat head football coach.

Turner is a1997 Hope High School graduate and former standout Bobcat who performed as a multiple sport athlete earning All-Conference in football, basketball and track. Turner, who coached six years from 2012-2018 in Ashdown High School athletic program excelled as an assistant coach in football and head coach for track and field. Turner coached the offensive line, wide receivers and defensive backs from 2012- 2014, before taking over as the offensive coordinator for the Ashdown Panthers football team under head coach Matt Richardson.

Turner as well as Daniel Bramlett, pastor of First Baptist Church of Hope were guest speakers at Lions Club.