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Coaching rivals Culbreth, Turner share region honors; Ruoff MVP

Just as rival coaches Steve Spurrier and Phil Fulmer each share college football national titles at Florida and Tennessee, respectively, so too do Wallie Culbreth and Eric Turner as high school soccer coach.

As for 2005, Culbreth, Farragut High School boys soccer skipper, and Turner, Bearden head coach, share Region 2-AAA Coach of the Year honors. Farragut defender Kirk Ruoff, Region 2-AAA Most Valuable Player, is among 12 FHS and BHS All-region honorees. See list in Sports briefs on page 14.

Though the Culbreth-Turner rivalry is a bit more civil than Spurrier-Fulmer, it’s an intense numbers game that’s dead even according to Culbreth.

After four years of head-to-head battles in which Turner and his Bearden SoccerDawgs enjoyed an unbeaten national title season (2002) followed by Culbreth’s 2004 national crown, the head-to-head numbers stand at Culbreth 6 wins, Turner 6 wins.

Praising Turner’s ability to make game-time adjustments, “Eric’s a great coach, but we keep this running battle,” Culbreth said. “We have a pretty good understanding of each other. ... I’ll do anything I can do during a game to get under his skin, and he’ll do the same thing to me. And I’m very conscious of what he’s doing so that he doesn’t out-move me. It is a chess match, player by player.

“I’ve beaten him at his own game and he’s beaten me at my own game,” Culbreth added.

But there’s also cooperation among these two competitors.

“But, when the game’s over with, it’s over with,” Culbreth said. “And we talk periodically, at least once a week during the season just to compare notes on our competitors. ...”


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