Turner Gill:Taking the First Step

Sept. 4, 2010

Kansas Head Coach Turner Gill is about to embark on his most important season at KU – his first. With any first comes first impressions, first accomplishments and of course first victories.

However, winning football games is not all that is on Gill’s mind. He is also interested in teaching young men how to be successful in life through football.

“I understand my purpose in life,” Gill said. “It is really to teach young men. It goes with the vision statement I have with the football program. Football is something I love, but what I love even more is teaching young men how to problem solve. I teach them what their purpose is not only as football player, but in life.”

Gill’s motto for life on and off the football field is “CATCHUC” an acronym that stands for character, attitude, teach-ability, communication, humility, unity and commitment.

“I use acronyms to help people remember the things they need to do in life and on the football field,” Gill said. “I use the acronym “CATCHUC” as my way of teaching and remembering the core values.”

Another way Gill incorporates the core values into Kansas football is through the sharing of personal experiences.

“I give student-athletes the opportunity to speak in front of their team,” Gill said. “I have a player that speaks in front of the team every single day. One of the questions I ask is ‘who is the most influential person in your life and why?’ The reason behind this is because it helps the student-athletes connect. A lot of times people focus on the differences between themselves and others instead of the things they have alike. Everybody has a story, and we want to hear their story.”

However, Gill has his own story to tell, full of accomplishments. He turned a one-win Buffalo program into a conference championship team in three short years. When Gill took over the Bulls in 2006, the team had not had a winning season in over a decade and had not been invited to a bowl game since 1958.

However, in three short seasons, Gill turned Buffalo into conference champions.

He is also a former Nebraska quarterback, who led his team to the brink of a national championship and an accomplished assistant coach at both the collegiate and professional levels.

“I have tried to surround myself with people that were going to be in the best interest to help me as person, No. 1 and No. 2 as a coach,” Gill said. “I have tried to learn everyday. I really believe that when someone is talking, you are going to learn something from them. You are not going to always learn what to do, but also what not to do.”

Gill has walked on a path that has led him directly to the University of Kansas and he credits his success to: God, his wife and Tom Osborne, former University of Nebraska head coach and current athletics director.

“I read the Bible and pray,” Gill said. “Tom (Osborne) is my friend and he gives me advice not only on football, but how to problem-solve and be a leader. My wife knows me in a deeper way and is able to help and teach me how to operate better.”

As the 2010 Kansas season gets underway, Gill will be on the sidelines coaching, teaching and triumphing in Crimson and Blue. His methods will undoubtedly translate into success both on and off the field for the Jayhawks during Gill’s year of firsts.

Katie Cook is a senior media relations student assistant` from Lenexa, Kan., earning a double major in Spanish and journalism.