Brocklon Chatman could see it coming.
The St. Mary's athletics director knew football coach Ken Turner might be moving on to a larger school after Turner guided the Dragons to back-to-back Missouri state championships in 2021 and 2022.
"It's always expected after two great season like he had," Chatman said. "It's the game of coaching."
Belleville West announced Tuesday it had hired Turner as its new coach.
The move might be considered surprising in some circles.
The Dragons, who were a combined 24-3 during the title runs, return a host of key players from the two-time defending state champion team.
Belleville West is coming off back-to-back 0-9 campaigns and has been outscored 757-131 during the 18-game skein. The Maroons' last win was a 49-7 triumph over Alton on April 23, 2021, during a truncated spring campaign related to COVID-19.
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"I've always liked challenging myself," Turner said. "This opportunity just seemed right to me."
Chatman said Turner left a huge imprint at St. Mary's.
"He and his staff have elevated this program to the point where they can't do any more," Chatman said. "They've already reached a certain level. I absolutely understand they're looking for options."
Turner, 52, is known as a high-energy offensive wizard.
The Dragons amassed 1,214 points over the past two seasons — an average of 45 points per game. They beat St. Dominic 42-0 to win the Class 4 title in December after knocking off St. Pius X of Kansas City 56-0 in the Class 3 title contest in 2021.
"I loved my kids at St. Mary's," Turner said. "We did some things that are big in the whole history of the state of Missouri. I'm forever grateful for my opportunity. I had a chance to coach some great kids. I had a great time at St. Mary's, a great run. This was a tough decision because of the relationships I built with the guys and success we had on the field."
Turner has Belleville ties. He helped Althoff reach small-school toughie status by compiling a 79-51 record during 12 seasons at the catholic school. The Crusaders finished second in Illinois in Class 2A in 2012 and also claimed the runner-up place in 4A in 2015.
Turner is going to bring St. Mary's defensive coordinator Tommy Polley along with him to West. Polley was a linebacker with the St. Louis Rams from 2001-2004.
"We're out to change the culture," Turner said. "I want to coach these kids up and see where it takes us."
Turner graduated from East Louis High in 1988 and played under legendary coach Bob Shannon.
Belleville West athletics director Joe Muniz said the school is thrilled to get a coach of Turner's stature.
"I know what it takes to win state championships," Muniz said. "To do it back to back is truly amazing. It tells you what type of coach he is and what type of program he runs."
Muniz guided the Belleville West boys basketball team to consecutive 4A state championships in 2018 and 2019.
The West selection committee mulled more than 20 applicants for the job. Muniz said the group had its eye on Turner from the beginning.
"We reached out to see if he was interested and there was mutual interest," Muniz said.
Turner, who is replacing Jason Wells, will give the West program a much-needed shot in the arm.
Muniz said there was a buzz around campus minutes after the move was announced.
"He brings so much to the table," Muniz said. "No. 1, he's a great person. I think he'll be able to develop the culture that we need to develop. He's used to winning, used to winning the right way — and that's very important."
Turner is looking forward to getting started. The Maroons have a lot of depth among underclassmen and on the junior high level, which bodes well for the future.
"The bottom line is this is a new challenge," Turner said. "I'm ready to take it on."