STARKVILLE — Mississippi State football coach Zach Arnett added a familiar face to the Bulldogs coaching staff Wednesday as the program announced the hire of longtime defensive line coach David Turner.
Turner is now making his third stop in Starkville as the defensive line coach of the Bulldogs, having previously coached at Mississippi State from 2007-09 and 2013-15.
He replaces Jeff Phelps, who served as defensive line coach for the past three seasons.
The Goldston, North Carolina, native comes over from Georgia Tech, where he spent last season as the assistant head coach/defensive run game coordinator.
“I’m very thankful to Coach Arnett for this opportunity to be back in Starkville which we consider home and back in the great state of Mississippi to work with some of the best defensive minds in the game,” Turner said in Wednesday’s press release. “Mississippi State has a longstanding reputation for elite defensive line play, and there is no doubt that tradition will continue.
“I’m excited to hit the ground running and get to work with our team.”
During his previous tenures as Mississippi State, Turner helped mentor and coached the likes of Chris Jones, Fletcher Cox, Preston Smith, Pernell McPhee and more, as well as being the one to sign future first-round pick Jeffery Simmons to the Bulldogs.
Over his 37-year coaching career, over 20 years of which spent in the Southeastern Conference, Turner has coached 15 NFL draft picks and his teams have reached 17 bowl games among the 11 different schools he’s coached for.
In just the SEC, Turner has coached at Florida, Texas A&M, Kentucky, Alabama, Vanderbilt and Mississippi State, along with other stints at Minnesota, Virginia and NC State.
“When you tune in to the NFL on Sundays, you will see the best defensive linemen in the league who were recruited, signed and developed by Coach Turner,” Arnett said. “Having spent two decades in the SEC, he understands what it takes to compete at the line of scrimmage in this conference.
“His experience, reputation and proven track record coaching some of the most dominant defensive lines in the country will make him a huge asset for our players and staff.”
Turner’s second stint in Starkville was arguably his most successful as the defense set a school record with 98 tackles for loss in 2015 and ranked second in the SEC in sacks in 2014 with 37.
That 2014 season also saw the Bulldogs post the nation’s best red zone defense en route to a 10-win season and trip to the Orange Bowl.
Wednesday’s hire is the third new on-field coach and fourth new hire since Arnett was officially named MSU’s head coach on Dec. 15.
Arnett also promoted Matt Brock to defensive coordinator on Jan. 4.
You can help your community
Quality, in-depth journalism is essential to a healthy community. The Dispatch brings you the most complete reporting and insightful commentary in the Golden Triangle, but we need your help to continue our efforts. Please consider subscribing to our website for only $2.30 per week to help support local journalism and our community.