Little Rock native Richard Turner was a member of the original recruiting class of the UALR men’s swimming and diving team in 1970. He participated in both swimming and water polo and held four school records. Named to the head coaching position when John Torbett retired, Turner began his coaching career in 1983. After the 2006-07 season, Turner resigned as head coach of the UALR swimming team to focus solely on being the Assistant Director of Athletics for Compliance.
As head coach of the women’s swimming and diving program, he has produced eight all-Americans (six swimmers and two divers), four academic all-Americans and two individual national champions. The women’s swimming and diving team has been recognized for its academic achievements and awarded the College Swimming Coaches Association of American NCAA Division I Academic Swimming Team certificate five times.
Turner also served as head coach of the UALR men’s swimming, diving and water polo teams from 1983 to 1996. During that time, the men’s programs produced two water polo all-Americans, two individual champions in the National Independent Swimming and Diving Championships, two NCAA top 10 national rankings in water polo, five Southern Water Polo Conference titles, two NCAA National Collegiate Water Polo Championship tournament appearances and one NCAA Eastern Water Polo Regional Championship.
Turner has coached UALR student athletes who have successfully competed at the regional, national and international level. Turner’s athletes have participated in the NAIA, NCAA and European championships, Pan American Games, Olympic trials and the Olympic Games.
In recognition of outstanding achievements in aquatics, Turner was inducted into the Arkansas Swimming Hall of Fame in 1994.