Turner will be facing a very familiar foe on Saturday, despite a 0-0 record vs. San Jose State as a head coach.
SJSU gave Turner his first head coaching experience in 1992 when he led the team to a 7-4 record. As an assistant coach, Turner is 1-2 vs. the Spartans (0-2 at Stanford and 1-0 at Pacific) and fell to San Jose State in his two collegiate seasons at Pacific.
Over the last four seasons, Illinois has a record of 24-14 (.632).
Turner earned Big Ten Coach of the Year honors in 2001 after leading Illinois to the Big Ten championship and a trip to the Nokia Sugar Bowl and its first 10-win season since 1989. The league title was the Illini's first since 1990.
Known as a great offensive mind, Turner has coached Illinois to the school's highest scor-ing squads in both 1999 (32.3 ppg) and 2001 (32.5 ppg). Those seasons rank 1-2 in the Illinois record books and the 26.7 ppg scored in 2000 ranks eighth. The team topped the 5,000-yard total offense mark in 2001 for the first time in school history.
Turner has served as quarterbacks coach, offensive coordinator or head coach since 1981. During that time he coached quarterbacks such as Jeff Garcia, Erik Kramer, Jim Harbaugh, Sean Salisbury, Rodney Peete and Kurt Kittner.
Turner led the Illini to an 8-4 record and a 63-21 thumping of Virginia in the Micronpc.com Bowl in 1999. For his efforts, Turner finished fourth in the Associated Press Coach of the Year voting.
He came to Illinois after a four-year stint as the offensive coordinator for the Chicago Bears (1993-96). In 1992, he was the head coach for San Jose State where he turned in a 7-4 record and a second-place finish in the Big West Conference.
ILLINOIS/SJSU SERIES HISTORY:
In 1992, San Jose State head coach Ron Turner began his first and only season with the Spartans, leading the squad to a 7-4 record and second-place finish in the Big West. Turner guid-ed a San Jose State offense that averaged 400 yards and 30 points per contest (15th in the nation).
Ron Turner is the first Illinois football coach to face a former institution in which he was head coach since Pete Elliott took on California in 1963 and 1964, the only previous times in UI history when this happened.
Another familiar face in San Jose State football history is Illinois quarterbacks coach Dan O'Dell, who will face his alma mater on Saturday. The former Spartan quarterback was 4-2 as a starter at SJSU, defeating UTEP, Air Force, Hawaii and UNLV in 1997. He was named the WAC Offensive Player of the Week after throwing five touchdown passes and running for one in a 55- 48 overtime win over UNLV. He appears in the San Jose State record book with the fifth-best sin-gle game passing effeciency rating (vs. UNLV).
Saturday marks the first meeting between Illinois and San Jose State on the football field.
Illinois has three players from the state of California on the roster: cornerback Michael Hall (Tehachapi), Jamie Hanton (Corona) and Duke Preston (San Diego).
Spartan starting cornerback Shaun Fletcher is a St. Louis native, attending Hazelwood East which is the same school as Illini defensive end Brian Schaefering and cornerback Darnell Ray.
SpartanThunder.com will have a complete post game report on this site, so check back soon!