At this time of year, with college coaches being hired and fired, it's easy to forget about the bonds they form with their players.
Rice senior running back Luke Turner offered a powerful reminder of how strong the coach-player relationship can be when speaking to reporters Saturday after the Owls' 27-7 win over Charlotte.
Turner, who has been a Swiss Army knife of sorts for the Owls in his career -- running, catching passes, returning kicks, serving as a deep snapper and taking snaps in their "Wild Owl" formation -- played his final game Saturday and delivered a heartfelt thanks to his head coach, David Bailiff, for recruiting him and giving him an opportunity.
"I just want to say thanks to Coach Bailiff because that man right there gave me a chance, when nobody else wanted to give me a chance," Turner said, as his voice cracked. "This is my only Division I offer. I broke my leg my senior year of high school and everyone sold me off. That man right there stuck with me."
Watch the full 72-second speech and Turner's warm embrace with Bailiff after his comments here:
Bailiff, who just completed his ninth season at Rice, is considered by many of his peers to be one of the genuinely good guys in the profession. It's not unusual for Bailiff to become emotional when discussing one of his players, and he is well-respected by both those he's worked with or coached against. Houston head coach Tom Herman and Kansas head coach David Beaty, both first-year head coaches, worked for Bailiff and consider him a mentor.
The Owls went to bowl games three consecutive seasons from 2012-2014 under Bailiff, the longest such streak in school history. Two of Rice's three 10-win seasons in school history came under Bailiff.
And Bailiff looked like he knew what he was doing when he offered Turner a scholarship. Turner led the Owls this season in touchdowns scored (eight), accounting for touchdowns passing, rushing and receiving.