Dave Turnquist retires after 13 years

Friday, October 4, 2019
Pictured is Laura(wife), Dave, Katie Morris(daughter) and Lesa Heckt(daughter).

Dave Turnquist just hates to lose, when it comes to sports, plain and simple. “I really hate to lose. That’s what drove me to learn as much as I could about softball,” says Dave. The Sioux City Journal’s Softball Coach Of The Year, and a 13-year veteran of being skipper to the Alta-Aurelia girl’s softball team, Dave just really wanted to get better, at making his teams better, even to the point of guiding a squad that a lot of people didn’t expect to get to the 2A girl’s high school softball championship game, earlier this year. The deep run from that young squad surprised even Turnquist, who’s seen a lot in his years coaching sports. Dave’s teams were always competitive, always in the mix, and ready for anything when it came to playing softball. So, it was especially hard when it came time to hang up his cleats, and retire from coaching, this year. “I planned on retiring after our daughter Katie graduated, but when that came up, I knew that I wanted to keep going, with more nieces coming into the program,” says Dave. The Turnquist family, and Alta-Aurelia athletics, have been synonymous together for years, that it’s hard to imagine one without the other, competing in everything from softball, to basketball, and track. Some of the best coaches are teachers, who not only know how to teach the individual, but are able to keep learning themselves, for the betterment of all. “I studied college coaching philosophies, and learned a lot as I went. It’s a continuous process,” says Dave.

Where did it all start for Coach Turnquist? Having grown up in the Alta area, Dave played football, basketball, baseball, and ran track. He graduated from the old Alta High school, and went on to study farm equipment mechanics from Iowa Lakes Community College. Dave met wife Laura, who went to Sioux Rapids-Rembrandt, playing volleyball there. They married, and had two daughters – Lesa, who played sports for BVU, and Katie, who played third base for her dad while attending Alta–Aurelia High. “My nieces Ariel, Alyssa, Ali, Alicia, and Brittany also played for me, and Lesa, and Katie, volunteer coached with me. Coaching my daughters went well, but it is tough, because there is extra pressure that you feel that you want them to do well, because you’re the head coach,” says Dave. Dave is very proud of what all the Turnquist girls did on the field, but in particularly proud of his two daughters.”Lesa was a pitcher, which is extra stress, but she did well, and was a very accomplished center fielder. Katie played a great third base, which is one of the toughest positions on the field. We never had a parent/player confrontation. They respected my coaching, and I knew how much to push,” says Dave.

Dave also heaps praise on his assistant coaches.” My brother Jon, and Joe Kraemer studied pitching, and went to camps to get the most knowledge on pitching techniques, as we could. I had some awesome assistant coaches: Rory Payne, and Kacee Christiansen. They did most of the defense, so I could concentrate on the offense, and pitching. My brother Jon was a volunteer coach the last two years, but helped with pitching the last five. Lesa and Katie helped after they graduated, and brought a wealth of knowledge to the program, too. The one strategy that never changed was aggressiveness on the bases, and to never get on a base runner after a mistake. It made them tentative,” says Dave. The biggest praise goes to Dave’s wife Laura. “She has always been the announcer, and thought this was her last year, too. She really helped, when I needed to vent after some losses, and also enjoyed the exhilaration, after a big win,” says Dave.

Former Alta-Aurelia pitching sensation Abby Kraemer sums up the career of Coach Turnquist quite well, and how much he has helped players with not just lessons in softball, but lessons in life. “Coach Turnquist is a great coach. I have spent many, many hours with him at pitching practices, and there was never a dull moment. Coach always knew how to have a good time, but he also knew the right time to be serious. He was always so patient with us girls, and that really showed with the young team, especially this year,” says Abby. And, to cap off a career of four years as a city league softball coach, a volunteer coach for varsity basketball, and thirteen years coaching softball, Coach Dave has the final say. “There’s no doubt I’ll miss the players. It was one of the hardest things to do, to tell them that I was retiring. I struggled getting through that. But I will leave with some of the best memories.” says Dave.