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Chamberlain’s Jason Lane: No better teacher than Billy Turner

By Bob Putnam
Former Chamberlain head coach Billy Turner during a 2008 game against Jefferson. (Times file)

One of the first things Jason Lane did when he was hired to take over at Chamberlain in 2015 was reach out to Billy Turner, the iconic coach who directed the program for 30 years and still is Hillsborough’s all-time winningest coach with 254 victories.

One of Turner’s wins came against Jefferson in 2008 during his final season. Lane was an assistant coach with the Dragons at the time.

"We had some great battles, and he was such a respected coach not only at the school, but also throughout the whole county," said Lane, who was an assistant at Jefferson from 2003 until he became Chamberlain’s coach.

Lane wanted to find out about the history of the program, about dealing with the community. There was no better source than Turner, who coached Washington Redskins Jay Gruden and former FSU standout James Wilder Jr. during his tenure.

"Coach Turner really helped me out when I got here," Lane said. "My mission was to bring the program to the level of respect it had when he was here."

Lane has turned things around. This season, the Chiefs are 8-2 and in the playoffs for the first time since 2008. They face undefeated Mitchell.

In June, Turner died after a decade-long bout with cancer. He was 79.

Lane attended the funeral. So did nearly all of his players, who were wearing their game jerseys.

"He means so much to everyone around here, even to this day," Lane said of Turner. "The family has been real supportive of everything we’ve done. It means a lot."

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