Coach Billy Turner could pack a football stadium. And on Friday, he packed a church.
It was standing room only at St. Lawrence Catholic Church for Coach Turner’s funeral mass. Nearly 1,000 filled the pews to pay their respects and say goodbye.
The former Chamberlain Chiefs football coach passed away June 9 following a battle with cancer.
Lines of people waited to get inside where they gathered to share their grief over the loss of such a vibrant personality.
There were plenty of tears but also laughter, especially when daughter Tianne Turner Doyle recalled times her dad would sing musical numbers and whistle the theme from Phantom of the Opera.
"You see, God gave Coach a built-in whistle," she said.
Family, faith, love and of course, football, were familiar themes throughout the service. Football was the big topic.
Turner’s legend grew on the Bay Area football field. The longtime Chamberlain Chiefs head coach solidified his legendary status not just as the winningest coach in Hillsborough County history, but for all that he did to promote the game.
Billy Barnes Turner left an imprint on this community. His is a legacy, not just of football, but of the endearing love and passion he embodied. It’s why so many wanted to say a final farewell.