Southern Miss

Former USM coach Turk dies at age 71

Former Southern Miss men's basketball coach M.K. Turk died Friday morning, an athletic department spokesman confirmed.

Turk, who was the head coach at USM from 1976-96, was 71 years old. He finished is career at Southern Miss as the winningest coach in school history with a record of 300-267.

Turk led Southern Miss to the proudest moment in the program's history when it won the 1987 NIT championship by beating LaSalle, 84-80, at Madison Square Garden.

The Golden Eagles earned their first two NCAA Tournament bids under Turk's watch in 1990 and 1991.

The 1990-91 squad went 21-8 and won the Metro Conference regular season championship.

Turk coached some of the top players in USM history, including Clarence Weatherspoon, who was the three-time Metro Conference Player of the Year and a first-round pick by the Philadelphia 76ers.

Turk served as head coach at Copiah-Lincoln Community College and as an assistant at Memphis before he arrived at USM.