Marvin Turk, Athletic Counselor

Life rarely stays on the scripts that we so carefully try to construct for ourselves. Try as you might, life will always change what you try to plan for. At the moment, these changes may seem like setbacks, but they are often just curves on the road of life.

Marvin Turk was born and raised in the Capital of California; Sacramento, yet through the twists and turns of life has built his own life about three hundred miles south of that in the Central Valley.

In high school, Turk was one the most prolific receivers in the state, racking up all- conference and state accolades during his time at Kennedy High. He was so good that he received full-ride scholarships to UCLA and UC Berkeley for his athletic ability in football.

Because of his grades, he was unable to accept any scholarships to play football. He was right under the 2.0 Grade Point Average threshold necessary to be academically eligible to accept the scholarship and to play.

This mistake is something that inspired him to want to be an athletic counselor, so that he could stop other talented athletes like he once was from making that same mistake. This mistake would eventually prove to be a fork in the road to what was his true path in life.

Marvin played football at American River Junior College after high school, getting his grade situation in check. While at American River, he starred on the football field again, showcasing his division one talent. He was awarded team MVP, and would also be named first-team all-conference. Success during his time at American River would open up yet another opportunity, division one football for the University of Montana.

Montana was far from Sacramento, but Turk was excited about the opportunity and ran through the door. Turk would again star on the football field, setting many receiving records that stood at the university until the college game shifted into a pass-heavy one.

The higher you go in your sport, the harder it becomes to be a student-athlete. The line between the two becomes very blurred, and it is easy to focus more on one or the other.

One of the most important things was finding the balance between being an athlete and a student, something that became harder as time went on.

“I did a lot better my first three years in college. The fourth year was a struggle and I almost didn’t make it through,” he said. “The balance between football and school was leaned way too far towards football.”

In 2022, there are many more rules in place to help student-athletes, such as non-practice days, no two a days, mandatory study hall, and more. None of these were in place during the early nineties, so it was a struggle for Turk to maintain that balance. Even something simple as having an iPad with all of your books on it to help study on team planes wasn’t a reality back then.

During the 1991 season, Turk racked up 1,047 yards and 13 touchdowns on 53 receptions, per This would break the single-season yardage record by one, and tie the record for touchdowns in a season.

After Montana, Turk got a couple of NFL tryouts, but could never make it work. He was about a decade too early, big receivers like Turk with his 6’2 frame didn’t become what the NFL was looking for until recently. The smaller, slot-type receivers or deep threats with blazing speed were the standards. The Montana yearbook even quoted that receivers that were built like tight ends (like Turk) were brand new to starring in the coach’s offense.

Turk would go on to play for the Amsterdam Admirals of the 1995 to 2007 NFL Europe league. He also played for the UFL football team based out of Tipes, China. After his time on the playing field would end, he would go back home to Sacramento and coach at his alma mater, American River Community College. He began coaching the wide receivers and tight ends and stayed there for six years until he moved in 1999.

It was there that he would notice the impact of the Athletic Counselor position. “I saw what he (the athletic counselor) was doing and became interested in the job. I talked to him about it and decided to continue coaching while I did grad school and completed my internship hours,” Turk said.

After finishing his master’s degree at CSU Sacramento, COS and Reedley College offered Turk counseling positions. He took the offer at COS in 1999 and has been here ever since.

According to Turk, in all that time, the job hasn’t changed much. “Most of the changes have been with technology,” he said. “Going from having to write down every student ed plan and copy and file them away; now DegreeWorks has made that whole process much more streamlined for both counselors and students.”

His job is fast-paced. As a student, when you walk into the counselor’s office it seems pretty straightforward. However, a lot more goes into it than one would expect. It is a student every 15-30 minutes, of every hour, every day while Turk also teaches classes on campus.

The best part about the job to Turk is being able to “work with and help students reach their goals. Seeing the development as they go from student to graduating and getting a job or going on to a four-year university.”

In his time away from work, Turk officiates high school basketball and football, as well as junior college football. He began officiating when he first moved here in 1999 because he was new to the area and didn’t know anyone. He also continued his coaching career when he moved, as he would coach the Golden West High receivers and be the offensive coordinator and even coach here at COS for a few seasons. He also likes to travel which is perfect with his profession having a lot of time off.

“If I had to give one piece of advice to young people it would be to stay focused on your goals. You have plenty of time to party and have fun, get your degree done and start enjoying life,” he said. “It is a lot easier to complete school now than to come back to school in your thirties or forties with kids, a job, and a spouse.”