Add new Southeast High School athletic director Allie Turley to the list of those within the Manatee County athletic family who have been in some way influenced by John Harder, the Seminoles’ longtime head girls basketball coach.
Though Turley will not begin his new role until July 5, Southeast has been on his mind for years, even as he toiled as a young basketball coach in Hillsborough County.
While Turley was the head girls basketball coach at Ruskin Lennard, he was also an assistant coach with the track and field team. One season, he came to Southeast for a district championship. He met Harder and Paul Maechtle, who was the head football coach at the time, and was blown away by their enthusiasm. Since then, the Seminoles program has always occupied a space in his head.
“The hospitality and enthusiasm that I just got from those guys from meeting them — it just sparked an interest in me,” Turley said. “It always put Southeast in the back of my mind.”
Turley and outgoing athletic director Daniel Bradshaw will work in tandem during the next few weeks. Bradshaw’s three-year tenure as the Seminoles’ athletic director will end June 29 when he moves to South Carolina with his family. He spent 13 years at the school.
“I met him for the first time on Wednesday,” said Bradshaw, who did not serve any formal role in the hiring process for his successor. “I was impressed. He seems very knowledgeable and very excited. He has some different experiences that he brings to the job that will help him.”
Turley, 37, has served as the head girls basketball coach at Lennard and head boys basketball coach at Brandon. He also has worked as an assistant women’s basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky, St. Petersburg College and Southeastern Illinois College.
Turley has been working in Bradenton for the past year; he taught biology at IMG Academy. He did not coach during the past school year.
“I kind of wanted to see what IMG really is,” Turley said. “I only had seen it from the outside.”
It was a chance to see high school athletics operated in a collegiate manner. Turley has known for a few years he wanted to become an athletic director — he earned his master’s degree in sports leadership from Duquesne — and the Ascenders could give him a different perspective while commuting from his home in Ruskin.
Last month, when Southeast posted the vacancy on the Florida High School Athletic Association website, some of Turley’s positive memories flooded back.
“When I saw the job get posted,” Turley said, “I just had to take a chance on it.”
The fast hiring process — Bradshaw gave notice of his intentions in May — allows Turley to begin during a relatively slow period of the year for athletic directors.
“It’s quiet from the standpoint there is not a lot going on in terms of scheduling, but there is a lot of prep work for the fall and winter. You are trying to make certain you fill any coaching positions, because now is the time schools are hiring teachers (Southeast has only a girls soccer coaching vacancy), and renewing sponsorships with local businesses.
“If he was starting any later, it would be difficult because come August you are so busy. So having July to settle in will help him and the school.”