The news of the passing of coach Scott Young shook me yesterday morning, but as I have taken a day to read comments on Facebook and Twitter, coach left one heck of a legacy.
Before I go any further, thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Dianne and his kids-- Bryant, Ally, and Brody in this very tough time.
One of the joys of being the producer of Football Friday Night for the last 20 years is getting the chance to talk to coaches. Coach Young truly was one of my favorite coaches to interview. He told it like it was, didn't sugarcoat anything, and didn't use many cliches that a lot of coach tend to lean on in an interview. And there was never a time where he didn't want to talk about West Rowan football.
Every time I made the trip to Mount Ulla to talk to coach about the upcoming season, he greeted me with a warm welcome and would proceed to tell me how good West Rowan was going to be. Most of the time, he was right.
Back to back to back 3A state title, 8 straight conference titles, 10 seasons of at least 10 wins, a 44 game winning streak against Rowan County rivals, etc, etc, etc... But it was the building of the community that mattered most to him.
He loved West Rowan and he especially loved his players. Not just the star players that broke records, went on to play college football and even play in the NFL, but ALL OF HIS PLAYERS.
Everyone knew Kevin Parks, Chris Smith, Jon Crucitti, B.J. Sherrill (just to name a few), but coach made sure to point out all the guys who would make a difference on each team because he knew, it was going to take hard work from all to accomplish the team goals.
"Hey Nate, check out that kid right there. He's only a sophomore, but he's going to be a good one."
Coach believed everyone deserved the credit. Not just the "star" players.
By the nature of the sport, football teaches so many life lessons and the man driving those lessons is the head coach. There's winning, losing, injury, disappointment in playing time, and it's in those moments where a coach makes his biggest mark on a young life.
After West Rowan lost to Havelock in the state title game in 2011 denying the Falcons their 4th straight 3A state title, coach told his players "be really proud of your accomplishments but understand in life, you're not going to win all the time and you've got to learn to fail sometimes."
A tough lesson to learn in that moment, but one the guys could hold onto and draw back upon later in life. That's what coaching is about. Long after football, there is life and he made sure his kids were ready for the future.
From the outside looking in, fans get so caught up in wins and losses and state championships. Yes, winning is nice, but in the end, it's all about developing the youth to be solid citizens when their time in between those lines are done. Coach Young got that point across to his teams.
So coach, to borrow a piece from that quote back on December 3rd, 2011, "be really proud of YOUR accomplishments." You made a difference.
Now rest easy my brother... You definitely will be missed...