Turk rewarded for a job well done

Turk rewarded for a job well done

Ask recruiting expert Cody Westerlund if Turk's promotion will help recruiting here.

CHAMPAIGN — Mike Turk has had a memorable past week.

On Saturday, his Illinois men's track and field team tied for 12th place in the NCAA Championships, the highest finish by an Illini squad in 23 years. On Monday, Turk — who served as interim head coach for the past two years — had the interim tag removed.

"I think the entire body of work played a significant role, but I'm sure the success we've had this spring, especially the last couple weeks in the preliminary rounds and NCAA finals, I'm sure that added to it," said Turk, who came to Illinois as an assistant coach in 2006. "I felt good about the process. It's rare to get the kind of opportunity to interview for the job (while you're) on the job. I felt that was a great opportunity to show what I could do over an extended period of time."

Turk said the interim tag didn't impact how he guided the program.

"It was difficult at times, but I tried not to consider the uncertainty of being an interim coach," he said. "I've just gone about my business. The best advice I got was from (UI associate athletic director) Vince Ille, who said to operate the program like I'm going to be here for a long time."