Family, friends, coaches, teammates, classmates, athletes, Lufkin ISD admin, Lufkin ISD board members and community members all gathered inside the newly dedicated T.J. Turner Training Center to recognize the name sake once known as “the Gentle Giant.” The plaque commemorating the building states:
Tommy James (T.J.) Turner
T.J. Turner, Lufkin High School 1982 graduate, was a star in both track and field and football, a gentle giant and a natural leader. He was an imposing figure on the field and was a nationally recruited defensive lineman as well as state finalist in shot put his senior year. He went on to play football at the University of Houston, earning a spot on the Freshman All-American team in 1982. He was a member of the All-Southwest Conference team and led the Cougars in sacks in three of the four seasons he played. Turner was drafted by the Miami Dolphins in the third round of the 1986 draft. He played defensive end and nose tackle from 1986-92. Turner was a phenomenal athlete and wonderful father, husband and mentor. T.J. always credited his success to God and his coaches at Lufkin High School.
T.J. suffered from a stroke and passed away in 2009.
Superintendent Lynn Torres spoke about the the man who was more than just an athlete and it was her honor to announce the naming of the building. Athletic Director Coach Todd Quick read the memorial plaque and about the importance of having a legend like T.J. for his students to look up to. Kurt Stephens, Deputy Superintendent, discussed the process and how Mr. Charles Trout, classmate of T.J., wrote the proposal to consider naming something after T.J. for his accomplishments. Mr. Trout was overwhelmed by the size of the training facility and was very pleased that his friend and classmate would be recognized in a big way.
After a ribbon cutting in front of the facility, everyone clapped and cheered and T.J.’s wife Kathy said that her husband would just be tickled to know that the Lufkin community did this for him.
PHOTOS BY: ANDY ADAMS & SHEILA ADAMS/LUFKIN ISD
VIDEO BY: CALEB BEAMS/LHS AV