Ryan Turner enters his fifth season as head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach at the University of Houston for the 2011-12 season.
In 2008, his women's cross country team placed 5th in the Conference USA cross country championships, their first top-five finish since 2002. That team was lead by 2008 C-USA Cross Country Freshman of the Year Stephanie Aldea. Aldea became the first UH female cross country runner to qualify for the NCAA Championships in 14 years. She also qualified for the IAAF World Junior Cross Country Championships in Amman, Jordan. In addition to coaching Aldea, Turner also coached freshman Starla Garcia to obtain the No. 5 all-time 5,000m indoor performance in UH school history and competed in the 2009 USA Junior Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
During the 2011-12 season, Turner helped guide the men to a third-place finish at the C-USA Cross Country Championships with a pair of top-10 finishers in Wesley Ruttoh and Yonas Tesfai. Ruttoh, named Senior of the Meet, was a First Team All-Conference performer and qualified for the NCAA Championships after finishing in 6th place at the NCAA Regionals. Ruttoh helped the men finish seventh in the Regional Meet. Smith was named to the C-USA All-Academic Team and a Second Team All-Conference. Tesfai earned distinction as the Freshman of the Meet at the C-USA Championships and capped off his successful rookie campaign by landing on the All-Conference Second Team list. David Smith was a Third Team selection and earned distinction for his academic work with his All-Academic Team award.
Turner arrived at Houston after spending three years as the assistant cross country and track and field coach at Cowley County Community College (Kan.). There he helped led the men's and women's teams to six top-five national finishes, including four third-place National Trophies. Turner was named NJCAA Region VI Men's Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2006. Following the 2007 indoor track season, Turner was awarded the NJCAA Women's National Assistant Coach of the Year.
Prior to coaching at Cowley County CC, Turner spent two and a half years coaching at Southwestern College, his alma mater, in Winfield, Kan., and a semester at St. Gregory's University in Shawnee, Okla.
The Holdenville, Okla., native holds a bachelors degree in physical education, a master's degree in education and is USATF Level II certified in the endurance and sprints/relays/hurdles events. Turner recently attended the USOC/USATF Emerging Elite Coaching Camp at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, Calf.
While competing at Southwestern College (Winfield, Kan.), Turner was a four-time national meet qualifier and KCAC Conference runner-up in the 1,500m run. He ran the 800m, 1500m and 8,000m in cross country. He was the No. 4 runner on Southwestern's 1999 team that placed 8th at the NAIA National Cross Country Championships.
Turner has two daughters, Lauryn (4) and Haylie (1).