Elliot Turret announced his resignation as Crossroads School's basketball coach last Saturday, after his team had lost the state Division III championship game, 68-63, to Vanden of Travis Air Force Base.
Turret, who said that he felt "it was time to move on," isn't leaving on a winning note--more like a winning symphony. He said that he is looking into the possibilities of becoming an assistant coach at "a couple of (NCAA) Division I colleges."
The loss to Vanden marked the second time that Turret's Roadrunners played for the Division III title. In 1983, Crossroads was defeated for the state title, 71-64, by Cloverdale, led by Craig McMillan, who now stars for the University of Arizona.
But included in Turret's record as Crossroads' coach were five straight appearances in CIF-Southern Section finals, including a 1-A championship this year and Small Schools Division titles in 1982 and 1983. His Roadrunners also won Southern California Regional titles in 1986 and 1983.
The Crossroads basketball program has come a long way since the school began fielding teams in 1977. The school's first basketball coach was Rich Makoff, then the school's athletic director and--at least nominally--head coach when the Roadrunners won the school's first CIF title in 1982, when Turret was Makoff's assistant.
Crossroads teams were 100-46 under Makoff, who left the school after the 1982 season to become headmaster of Beverly Hills Prep. He admitted at the time that Turret deserved much of the credit for the 1982 CIF championship.
Crossroads finished the 1981-82 season with a 21-8 record, but a local newspaper lists the team's record that season as 18-1 and said that Turret took over as head coach in midseason. So, if you include the 18-1 mark, Turret's career record at Crossroads is 106-32, a winning percentage of .763. If you don't include it, it's still an excellent 88-31 and .739.
"It's been a great five years, and I think it's time to move on to new challenges," Turret said. "I feel the program has grown a lot over five years, and I'm very happy. . . . I'm going to leave feeling very satisfied."
Turret said that "one reason we were able to sustain successes is the continuity every year. We've had talented underclassmen who continue to improve, and I think there is no reason that shouldn't continue.
Crossroads will lose seven seniors to graduation this year, including starting guards Marc Rudolph and Keith Davis, who, said Turret, have been at the school since they were in junior high.
Turret said that, though seven seniors will graduate, the team will have six returning starters: juniors David Wolfe, a 6-7 senior, guard Chris Brown, sixth man Matt Bailey and 6-3 Danny Nagin, and two sophomores, 6-6 Rudy Henry and guard Michael Arnold.
He said that among his memories will be "the bonds that developed with the players. I'm very close to the players, and I think it's mutual."
It should also be remembered, he said, that Crossroads basketball teams have played "with no gym and no regular place to practice" and that Crossroads has been "the only team to play in five straight Southern Section championship games."
He had high praise for Rudolph, a Times All-Westside selection last year, who moved from off guard to point guard this season. He said that Rudolph, who averaged 22 points a game last year, "worked hard and sacrificed" at his new position, that he averaged 8.5 assists and 16 points this season but could have scored 30 points a game if he had not been unselfish.
No successor to Turret has been named. The school was not open this week, and administrators were not available.