Claremore Daily Progress

May 4, 2013

TRACK: Turner's calling landed him at ORU


TULSA — Most college athletic events are anything but peaceful. Track and field meets are no exception and to an outsider could even be described as a bit chaotic. Having bounced around to three schools in four years, Morrie Turner’s career could also be described as a bit chaotic. But with all that was going on, it was a “still, small voice” that led him to Oral Roberts University.

Originally from Batesville, Miss., Turner always had success. He was a state qualifier in high school and won the long jump at the 2009 International Down Under Championship. Turner didn’t sign with a big school out of high school and ended up at Hinds Community College in Raymond, Miss., where he was a national qualifier and earned athletic scholar accolades in each of his two years there.

That success took him to Mississippi State for a year before he left the state of Mississippi for the first time to attend ORU. While his long jump career played a part, this move was about more than athletics.

“I accepted my calling into the ministry, so ORU was a great fit,” said Turner. “I called up Coach Joe Dial and he seemed like a wonderful guy, so I said ‘let’s do this.’”

Despite being classified as a senior on the track, the recreation administration major will have one more year of classes before receiving his degree, and he plans to spend that time helping others.

“I’m going to come back here next year and hope to compete post-collegiately, but I will probably work at the YMCA and help out at ORU as a student coach,” said Turner.

The move to Tulsa did help on the runway as well, as Turner has set back-to-back personal bests, winning the long jump competitions at the KU Relays and Track-It-Buster Invitational at Wichita State. With those performances, he is ranked 25th in the nation in the event, and with improvement every week, he seems primed for a run to the NCAA National Championship Meet. Turner also earned Southland Conference Athlete of the Week honors.

“Usually around April I’m ‘clutch’ as you could say,” he commented. “My body just turns on and I get into a good rhythm, so I usually PR around this time in the season.”

When visiting with Turner it quickly becomes obvious that he has a heart for others, displayed perfectly by his garb in Kansas when he won the KU Relays. Turner donned a Boston Red Sox hat for the awards ceremony, dedicating the victory to those affected by the tragic bombings. A Mississippi native, who has no connection to Boston other than being a Celtics fan, said that he felt it was his opportunity as a Christian to show God’s love by making that statement.

“As a Christian we are all part of God’s body and we have to do whatever we can to help others. I just saw my place dedicating that win to Boston and just to support the people of Boston at the time.”

With classes over and finals ending at ORU, Turner can now turn his full attention to the next job, winning a Southland Conference Championship. He finished fourth at the indoor conference championship but has the second-best jump in the SLC this season.

“I just need to be consistent,” Turner said about what he needed to do to claim the gold. “I need to keep doing what I’ve been doing. I actually beat the guy (ahead of me) at this last meet and I have a lot of momentum going into this conference championship and the NCAA first round and hopefully nationals but I just need to be consistent.”

Turner and the rest of the Golden Eagles will compete in the SLC Championship in Lake Charles, La., from May 10-12. Updates will be posted from the ORU Track Twitter account (@ORUTrack) and complete results will be posted each day at