GAFFNEY, S.C. – After two seasons at the helm of the football program, the Limestone College Athletics Department and Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics Mike Cerino have announced that head coach Mike Furrey will resign his position to join the coaching staff of the Chicago Bears.
Brian Turk, Limestone’s running back coach and recruiting coordinator, will serve as the interim head coach for the Blue and Gold. Turk, who came to the Saints after spending nine seasons on the staff at the University of South Carolina, will oversee all day-to-day operations heading into spring practices.
“We can’t express how much we appreciate what Coach Furrey has done for Limestone football and our student-athletes on and off the field,” said Cerino. “Our program made huge strides during his tenure, and we wish him and his family nothing but the very best as he makes this exciting move back to the NFL.”
Furrey returns to the NFL to take over as the wide receivers coach of the Chicago Bears after spending the past seven years coaching in the collegiate ranks. He joins the staff of newly hired head coach Matt Nagy, a former teammate and roommate of Furrey with the Arena Football League’s New York Dragons.
He played a combined eight years in the NFL with the St. Louis Rams, the Detroit Lions, the Cleveland Browns, and the Washington Redskins. His best season as a professional came during the 2006 season with the Lions when he led the NFC with 98 receptions to go with 1,086 yards and seven touchdowns.
Furrey served as the head coach at Kentucky Christian University for two seasons, and then as the wide receivers coach at Marshall University for three, before he took over a young Limestone program in 2016. He promptly guided the Saints to their best season in the team’s short history with a 5-6 overall mark, and then led the program as it transitioned to membership in the South Atlantic Conference this past year.
In its first year in the SAC, Limestone compiled a 4-6 overall record and a fourth-place finish in the league standings. The 2017 Saints emulated the never-quit attitude of their head coach, winning three of its games in overtime before rallying from a large deficit to upset Newberry, 27-24, in the closing seconds.
Under his leadership, Furrey mentored seven players named to the All-South Atlantic Conference Team in 2017 while freshman running back Jerko’ya Patton (Charlotte, N.C.) earned SAC Offensive Freshman of the Year honors. In his two seasons at Limestone, Furrey combined for a 9-12 overall mark.
“This is just a tremendous honor,” said Furrey. “I came to Limestone with the mindset of coaching for the next 20 years and building a platform for young men to maximize their full potential in all areas of their lives. But, when I got the call from Coach Nagy about coaching on his staff in Chicago, it was just an opportunity and a blessing that I could not pass up.”
“I believe that we have built a great foundation here at Limestone,” Furrey continued. “The coaching staff will continue to move this program forward under Coach Turk. He has already done a tremendous job in bringing in quality young men, and I believe with all my heart that this program is about to take off!”
Turk joined the Saints after nine seasons on the Gamecocks staff, working his way up from a student manager to the assistant director of recruiting. He served as an offensive intern and graduate assistant coach under Steve Spurrier before taking charge of all offensive recruiting on Will Muschamp’s staff.
During his time at USC, he mentored quarterbacks Connor Shaw and Dylan Thompson – both of whom threw for over 5,000 yards and 40 touchdowns in their careers – and helped guide the Gamecocks to three straight 11-win seasons. He also coached in four consecutive New Year’s Day bowl games.
Turk was also responsible for offensive recruiting during his time on Muschamp’s staff at South Carolina. He helped the Gamecocks land back-to-back top-20 recruiting classes as he identified high school and junior college players while assisting with all on-campus recruiting activities.
In his first year as running backs coach at Limestone, he helped in the development of the SAC’s top rookie running back. Under his tutelage, Patton, who ranked fourth in the SAC in rushing yards per game, rushed for 907 yards and eight touchdowns while posting three 100-yard performances.
With National Signing Day just around the corner, his background in recruiting and his ties to South Carolina high school football will be vitally important in the coming weeks and months as the Saints look to bring in a strong class for the upcoming 2018 season and beyond.