Discover Your Island

Karl Turk

Outstanding Islanders

Photo of Karl Turk

A Leader on the Court and in the Classroom

Karl Turk, who is currently pursuing a doctorate in Educational Leadership at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, has always dreamed of a career in basketball. At a young age, he hoped to become a professional NBA player. That dream ended when, at the age of 14, Turk was diagnosed with transverse myelitis, a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord.  

Despite that challenge, Turk found great success on the court, in the form of coaching. From 2006-2008, Turk worked as the Director of Basketball Operations for the Islander Men’s Basketball team. He now serves as coach for the Boy’s Head Basketball and Girl’s Cross Country teams at West Oso High School. He also teaches Advancement Via Individual Determination classes, which prepare students for college and post-secondary opportunities.

“Basketball, for me, has been a vehicle to promote personal and professional growth,” said Turk. “It also serves as a passport to travel to places near and far, and into the hearts and minds of the student athletes that I lead.”

This past year, Turk led his West Oso boys to an undefeated district record, a district championship win, and a lengthy run in the playoffs. Turk was also named the South Texas Boy’s Coach of the Year, and the District 31-4A Coach of the Year.

“A great deal of the success in the high school program is attributed to the basketball knowledge, educator training, and leadership skills I acquired at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi," said Turk.

Turk earned a bachelor’s degree from Indiana State University in 2005, and a Master of Science in Secondary Education from Texas A&M-Corpus Christi in 2008. He is currently enrolled in the Island University’s Doctorate in Educational Leadership program and expects to graduate in 2016.

“Texas A&M-Corpus Christi has been my home away from home,” Turk said. “Peers and faculty members are supportive in praise and constructive criticism, and have helped open doors to personal and career goals.”

Future goals for Turk include continuing his career in education, becoming a public speaker on the topic of disability awareness, and one day, publishing a book.

“I have been able to face adversity and overcome challenges because I believed in myself, and have leaned on the support and modeling of strong people in my life,” said Turk. “I hope to be as uplifting to others as they have been to me.”