Hajj Turner will be the associate head coach for the men’s basketball program, head coach Mike Lonergan said in a highly-expected announcement Wednesday.
Turner spent the previous six seasons coaching under Lonergan at the University of Vermont, including serving as the associate head coach for the Catamounts in the 2010-2011 season. During his time at Vermont, Turner was involved with recruiting, academics, conditioning, scouting and individual skill development. He worked closely with Vermont’s big men, including center Chris Holm, who finished the 2006-2007 season ranked second in the nation in rebounding.
“It’s a great honor to be named as associate head coach for the Colonials,” Turner said. “GW is an outstanding university that plays high-level basketball in a great conference, and I am thrilled to continue to work with Coach Lonergan as we take GW basketball to great heights.”
In a video released through the University, Turner speaks of his experience at Vermont and his coaching strategy, emphasizing that he focuses on defense with his players.
“I’ve worked for Coach Lonergan for six years, and you’re not going to play if you don’t guard. That’s very simple, it’s not some tough guy, hard-nosed thing,” Turner said. “[Lonergan] doesn’t even really get into positions on the court. The position he truly cares about from an offensive standpoint is the point guard and everybody else kind of fills in around that.”
Turner will join former Montverde Academy head coach and athletic director Kevin Sutton on the men’s basketball staff.
Prior to his hire at Vermont, Turner spent two seasons at Maryland as the assistant director and men’s basketball coordinator of the school’s academic support and career development unit, working closely with Lonergan in 2004-05 season, when the GW head coach served as a Maryland assistant.
“We are extremely fortunate to have Hajj join us as we strive to take the GW men’s basketball program to the next level,” Lonergan said. “Hajj has tremendous experience both playing and coaching college basketball, and I am excited about what he will bring to GW.”
Turner graduated from the University of Louisville in 2001. His sister, Mandisa Turner, played for the Colonials women’s basketball team from 1996-99.