Boys Basketball

‘It’s a dream job’ — Turner wasting no time as new Hamilton boys basketball coach


HAMILTON — Jake Turner is already making an impact as Hamilton High School’s boys basketball coach.

The vision had been there before he was even hired to lead the Big Blue.

“I knew what I wanted to do for this team,” Turner said. “That’s not just for basketball, but also for the community.”

Turner took over at Hamilton in May, following the departure of former coach Kevin Higgins to LaSalle.

Turner has been in the building the last 10 years as a security monitor, so the familiarity surrounding some of the players and families is there.

It also helps being a 2010 Hamilton graduate and former player.

“It was a no-brainer,” Turner said. “I wanted to be back home. It’s a dream job.”

Turner was the head coach at Preble Shawnee for the last three seasons. The Arrows went 65-13 under Turner, who won the 2023 and 2024 Western Ohio Athletic Conference Coach of the Year and District 15 Division III Coach of the Year.

Prior to that, he spent eight years at Hamilton as an assistant and two years at Talawanda as the head coach.“

“There was no kind of hesitation besides what I really liked what we had going on at Preble Shawnee and what we were building there,” said Turner, who led the Arrows to their first Final Four appearance in school history last season.

“Home is home. Home is different. There wasn’t really a lot of conversations with my wife besides, ‘Go ahead.’ She wants me to be closer to home. Obviously, she knows what Hamilton means to me. I’ve lived here my whole life.

“My first house was in Hamilton, and my second house was in Hamilton as well.”

Turner, 32, admitted he never imagined he’d land his dream job so early in his coaching career.

“Here we are,” Turner said with excitement. “It was just kind of crazy because I really didn’t expect it to happen. I don’t know too many 32-year-old coaches who have their dream job and to have that opportunity. Ask me that I was going to be the head coach of Hamilton when I started five years ago, I would have laughed and said, ‘You’re crazy.’

“When the position was open, I was all in. I wanted to go after it and be prepared. I wanted it because it was a dream job, and your dream job doesn’t always open up like this. You just don’t know when that’s going to be.

“But I said, ‘Let’s go.’”


Turner and the Big Blue have been on the go since the beginning of June. The program has competed in camps and scrimmage workouts at Purdue Fort Wayne, Dayton, Wright State, Oak Hills and Middletown.

Turner said there are a few more visits to make before the end of the month at Mount St. Joseph, Shelbyville, Ky., and Miami University.

“We’re going to look at everything and evaluate it from there,” Turner said. “We’ve been really, really busy. We’re going to take advantage of June. We’ve been nonstop.

“I don’t think we’ve had our full team yet because of football and baseball and different things. But this is what it takes in order to get the kids looked at. You have to take advantage of this time right now.”

Turner said he’s focusing on the team’s current strengths and weaknesses, while adjusting to the personnel he has.

“The transition has been smoother than what most people think,” he said. “I’m familiar with most of the kids and familiar with the families. I’ve got to get to know some of the families that I don’t know still. Being able to do that is exciting to build that relationship with our players and our families.”

Turner also said with being a former player at Hamilton, he understands what it takes to win in the Greater Miami Conference.

“We’re small and athletic compared to most teams in the GMC,” Turner said. “We’ve got guys who can play in space — good athletes. We’re going to play to our strengths and be physical, press you, get after you and make it tough on you.

“You want to play the best of the best in the summer being in the GMC. You also want to play the best of the best from other areas. We want to push that right away. I want to throw these guys in the fire, and they’ll figure that out.”


Turner credited his evolvement as a head coach to the previous five years he spent leading Talawanda and Preble Shawnee.

“I used that experience to get to where I am now with my basketball knowledge,” Turner said. “I feel like I’ve done things the right way to get to get this opportunity.

“The maturing and the growth part has been huge each year with how I handle things and how I react to things,” Turner added. “When you have great assistant coaches, your job as a head coach is easier. Taking that and going to Talawanda allowed me to find out what works and what doesn’t work and things I probably should have done different. That was even at Preble. You just learn from that, and you grow from that.

“The last five years, I feel like I’ve grown a whole lot as a coach, as a leader. But I’ve been around a lot of good people that have helped me through that. There’s been a lot of people I’ve been able to go to for advice and role models and leaders who have had my back.”


Turner said he kept an eye on Hamilton’s successful season last year. He noted being genuinely happy for the Big Blue, who were crowned district champions for the first time since 2004.

“I watched the district final game against Sycamore,” Turner said. “It was exciting because I remember the state title days and winning the league. I remember those days.

“Just seeing how happy the kids were because I know how hard that group worked,” Turner added. “There were a lot of good kids that worked very hard. Coach Higgins and the staff did a great job with them. Just seeing that hard work pay off and that excitement on those kids faces was just awesome.

“The Big Blue was happy, and the community was happy. It was a special feeling that I had for them because once you put that Big Blue jersey on, you become part of a brotherhood that lasts forever.”

Turner said it was a tough decision to depart Preble Shawnee, which had been on the rise in recent years.

“We obviously had a really, really good player in Mason Shrout, who is going to have a great college career,” Turner said. “He made things easy, but he would tell you that it was tough. We saw every kind of defense in the three years that I was there that you could think of. Different matchups and two three guys on him.

“It was hard to leave that because there was a lot of dedication, and you believed in it. The parents believed as well. We were doing stuff in June in the summer that they weren’t used to that was normal to me.

“But when your dream job comes open, you go after it. I wanted to get to Hamilton and finish my career here. I’ve got a long time left I hope.”

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