Jimmy Turk played a lot of sports growing up in Owasso, Oklahoma– but baseball was always his destiny.
“Baseball was always the sport that I was probably going to play at the next level,” says Turk during a break from traveling to his new position as head coach of the Macon Bacon. Having already coached in the Northwoods and Great Plains Expedition summer leagues, Coach Turk was excited about the prospects of joining the Coastal Plains League.
“I’ve been coaching at South Mountain Community College for five years now– and I coach with Tyler Gillum, who’s the head coach [for the] Savannah [Bananas],” says Turk. “I think a lot of people just threw in good words for me with [Macon Bacon President] Brandon [Raphael]. Shoot, we probably talked on the phone every day for about 10 days and it just seemed like a really good fit.”
Coach Turk’s passion for the game itself is matched only by his willingness and enthusiasm to influence and guide the players under his charge.
“I really enjoy coaching in the summer. I think there’s a lot of value,” says Coach Turk. “The cool thing just from my perspective is I get to coach guys from all over the country, guys from other teams, other colleges in the leagues.”
He credits the summer collegiate series as an introduction to the rigors of the road and the next level of the game.
“It’s a professional style atmosphere, which I really like. It gives guys a good taste of what pro ball is like. I think there’s just a lot of life lessons to be taught. Our goal is to obviously help guys grow and mature as men so when they go back to their college, they can have good seasons.”
With Major League Baseball and the NBA planning returns in late July and the NFL and college football making tentative plans for the fall, the Coastal Plain League will be one of the first live sports attractions to return amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The Macon Bacon have been diligently preparing for the fans to return to Luther Williams Field and Coach Turk believes the spirit and spectacle associated with the team will continue to be on display while observing current social distancing guidelines.
“There’s gonna be some protocols and it’s going to be a little bit different,” he says. “But I think people are excited to see sports again… I know all of our guys are excited and I mean, I’ve been wanting to play for a while!”
The Macon Bacon debuted in 2018 and the team was immediately embraced by the fans in Central Georgia. It’s that kind of support that made Coach Turk’s decision to come to Macon an easy one.
“That’s a huge piece of it that sometimes people don’t always realize– just how big of a role the community plays. Just in terms of host families, people opening up their homes and letting players stay with them in the summer and then us getting out and doing community events and fans supporting our players. It’s awesome in all aspects! That’s huge when you have that kind of environment and you have a community that really backs your team… That’s a huge part of what summer baseball is all about.
The Macon Bacon return to Luther Williams Field on Thursday, July 2nd to take on league rivals the Savannah Bananas! Make plans to cheer on the team and Coach Jimmy Turk now! Get tickets and more information at www.maconbaconbaseball.com!