Curbstone Coaches HOF Spotlight: John Turco, Football Honoree

Curbstone Coaches HOF Spotlight: John Turco, Football Honoree

by | Mar 23, 2022 | Community, Sports | 0 comments

Turco, who was born on March 30, 1942, is one of five inductees in this year’s class with a football pedigree and is a retired teacher-coach who spent over 40 years in the classroom and roaming the sidelines.

A native of Neshannock Township, Pennsylvania, he is a 1960 graduate of Neshannock High School where he starred in football for the Lancers. A three-year letterwinner, he earned first-team all-County and all-District honors as a sophomore for his play as a tackle on both the offensive and defensive lines.

He followed that up by repeating as first-team all-County and all-District (offensive and defensive tackle) his junior season and during his breakout senior campaign, was named all-County and all-District for a third straight year, also earning honorable mention all-state laurels.

He also earned three varsity letters in both basketball and baseball for a total of nine scholastic letters overall. Upon graduation he received a full scholarship to North Carolina State University where he played for head coach Earle Edwards. While playing both offensive and defensive tackle as a freshman, he was named to the Atlantic Coast Conference All-Freshman team. He earned letters during both his junior and senior seasons, graduating in 1965 with his education degree.

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From 1960-64, the Wolfpack posted a combined 26-23-2 overall mark with a Liberty Bowl appearance in 1963. They were 6-3-1 in 1960, followed that up with a 4-6-0 overall mark in 1961 and 3-6-1 ledger in 1962. In 1963, they went 8-3-1 and made it to the post-season where they lost to Mississippi State (16-12) in the Liberty Bowl.

He finished his collegiate career in 1964 with the team going 5-5-0 and would later continue his grid career playing on both sides of the football for the Pensacola Goshawks. A member of Kappa Phi Kappa education fraternity, he also played for the Charlotte Vikings of the ASF League.

From 1968-70 and during the height of the Vietnam War, he was active in the U.S. Naval Reserves where he was assigned to the Mobile Riverine Force boats.

An E-6 who served as a hospital corpsman, he was also the recipient of the highly coveted Purple Heart. Upon his return stateside, he would spend the next 40 years as one of the area’s most respected educators and coaches. He began his coaching career at Mohawk High School in Bessemer, Pennsylvania, coaching football, basketball and track and field for the Warriors from 1969-76.

He moved over to Youngstown East H.S. as an assistant football coach from 1976-78 and from 1978-92, served as head football coach for The Rayen School (he also served as girls track coach from 1988-982 and again from 2003-09).

He became the head football coach at Sharon Kennedy Catholic High School, also serving as the Golden Eagles track coach from 1994-2002.

From 2003-04 he served as offensive coordinator for the Poland Bulldogs, was head coach of the Lowellville Rockets from 2004-06 and in 2007, served as an assistant football coach at Chaney High School.

He was named District “Coach of the Year” in 1985 when he guided the Rayen Tigers to the OHSAA football play-offs, making it to the state’s “Final Four” when they posted a 2-1 mark and finished third overall.  They were the first Youngstown City Series school to make the play-offs.

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He also guided the Golden Eagles to the Pennsylvania state football “Final Four,” posting a third-place overall finish.

In all, he guided Rayen to four league titles, one district and one sectional crown while guiding Sharon Kennedy Catholic to six league crowns and four district championships.

Under his tutelage, 73 Rayen Tigers earned scholarships while coaching two, NFL first-round draft picks (Terry Taylor of Southern Illinois University, who was the No. 22 overall pick in the 1984 draft by the Seattle Seahawks and Craig Powell of Ohio State University, the No. 30 overall pick in the 1995 draft by the Cleveland Browns).

During his time at Kennedy Catholic High School, 17 more players were scholarship recipients.He spent 38 years on the sidelines, 28 as a head coach where he posted a 188-96 overall mark. He and his wife, Georgia, are the parents of two children, daughter Sherry (Coolidge) and son Mike. They have one grandson, Jack Coolidge, and reside in Struthers.

Individual tickets are $60 each, tables of eight $480 and further information can be obtained by calling 330-506-6774, or by visiting the organization’s website at

This article is republished with permission of the Boardman News.