Nice Article on Coach Young

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Nice Article on Coach Young

Postby BestOfBreed on Tue Jan 23, 2007 9:36 am ... =1/23/2007

Wofford's legacy is found in its loyalty
Tuesday, January 23, 2007


Mike Young's face read like the bad side of a box score.

His Wofford team had blown an 18-point lead, his leading scorer went down with a season-ending knee injury and the College of Charleston drilled a last-second 3-pointer to win the game, 77-75.

There's nothing easy about losing, and every loss drives another spike into the heart of every coach who does this for a living.

A decided underdog coming into the game, Young and his Terriers had only one Southern Conference win this year and were desperate for a victory Monday night at John Kresse Arena.

For a coach with a losing record (54-81), to have another one ripped away after such an inspiring effort would have most men looking over their shoulder.

But not at Wofford. It has a legacy of loyalty that allows guys like Young to survive, and eventually thrive.

That's because his boss has been through what he's going through. And his boss' boss, and his boss before that.

"There's just something about that place," said Young, who was an assistant

coach at Wofford for 13 years under current athletic director Richard Johnson before he took over the reins five years ago. "There are people there that you trust as much as anybody in the world."

And that is a rare thing in the world of college athletics these days.

Long bus rides

Nobody wants to win more than Mike Young. And, eventually, he will.

Just because his school requires high academics doesn't mean he's doomed to mediocrity. Bob McKillop has proven that at Davidson. But it takes time.

"We've all got a job to do," Young said. "You've got to do your job. But at the end of the day - David Woods, our senior vice president, and Richard Johnson, our athletic director - we've got guys in those positions who have had their butts whipped and have sat on that bus and driven home three hours. They know what it's all about."

Young hopes someday to get the Terriers to the point in basketball that Mike Ayers has reached in football - a perennial contender. But that's not easy in the Southern Conference. In any sport.

"I think in terms or recruiting the right people, graduating our people, our people doing the right things, everything we're doing, I'm convinced we're doing the right way," Young said. And yet, it's a rough road. Especially when victory is so close and so suddenly snatched away.

"This is college athletics, so winning is important," Young said.

"That's the world in which we live. But honest to God, in 18 years, five as the head coach, the only pressure I have ever felt is the pressure I put on myself.

"That's enormous amount of pressure, because I'm no different than Bobby Cremins or the next guy. I want to win 23 games and I want to do great things with this team. And we're going to keep fighting our tails off until we get to that point."

Measure of a man

It helps Young's cause that his team carries a 3.0 grade point average and everybody at Wofford graduates. It's just a given.

They deserve credit for trying to do it the right way. With the right kind of people.

"We try to recognize talent and promote from within," said Young's boss, Richard Johnson, who coached the Terriers for 18 seasons and compiled a 236-230 record. "It's a domino effect. And other than me, everybody has done a pretty good job."

Indeed, the names that echo through the Spartanburg campus are legendary. GeneAlexander and Wayne Earhardt combined for almost 30 years of basketball tradition. Mike Ayers has been coaching football for 18 years. Even former school president Joab Lesesne still serves as director of football operations.

The legacy is in the lineage. And although there is a strong desire to win. It is not the ultimate measure of a man.

"There's plenty of pressure at Wofford," Johnson said. "There's pressure just like there is anywhere else. The difference is we're patient. If we see good things happening, we're willing to ride out a year here and there because we know that over the long term, the guys who pull the trigger and make those quick decisions, those are bad programs."

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Postby Eyes of Old Main on Tue Jan 23, 2007 11:49 pm

This is about as good a capturing of the Wofford philosophy that I have seen form someone outside the College.

I guess in my case it takes reading something like this (and witnessing the hustle and determination Coach Young has instilled in his team) to remember why Wofford is so special.
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