In the football coaching fraternity, it’s common for coaches to refer to one another as brothers. It doesn’t matter that on Friday nights they want to beat opposing coaches as badly as possible, because they all share a common goal, helping young men become the best students, athletes, and leaders that they can be.
High school football coaches are a different breed of men, and while they do receive a fair amount of fame, notoriety, and accolades, they also have a very selfless personality and never receive the true recognition for the unseen actions they do to help a player when the cameras aren’t on or the media isn’t present.
Reverend Billy Graham once said "A coach will impact more lives in a year than most will affect in a lifetime.” It’s because of this statement alone that when one of our best coaches is facing some hard times, we should all stand up and support him and his family.
When I was a young assistant coach back in the early 2000’s at South Rowan High School, we were consistently one of the best programs in the county but always had to face off against West Rowan High School. While we did get the best of the Falcons in 2000, a 31-24 double overtime thriller, West dominated the series.
Over the course of time I really grew to dislike head coach Scott Young. As a competitive person, nobody likes to keep coming up short, year in and year out.
It wasn’t until I left the coaching ranks and started Carolina Preps that I started developing a friendship with Young and really began to fully respect his body of work from multiple points of view.
Everyone knows that Young took over a program that historically had struggled for decades. Fans in Mt. Ulla had no vision of what a conference title was like, nonetheless visions of grandeur such as a state championship.
However, Young not only won a conference title, he’s won multiple, and he’s guided West Rowan to back-to-back-to-back state titles from 2008-10, and a runner-up finish in 2011. He owns a 172-54 coaching record, 25th among active head coaches in the state.
He’s helped countless young men advance to the next level and pursue a college degree, and one of his greatest runners, Kevin "K.P.” Parks is still North Carolina’s All-Time Leading Rusher.
But even this coach, a man who could easily run for mayor of Mt. Ulla and hold office for years has faced his share of difficulties. On Monday, October 25, 2011 he suffered a heart attack. While he was able to return to the sidelines that week and has remained as the top coach at West Rowan, he’s continued to face issues with his heart.
Since the completion of the 2014 season, his condition has worsened.
Once the Falcons were eliminated by Crest in the second round of the 3A playoffs, he started down a long road in trying to find out what was the cause of his heart condition. He’s been in and out of multiple hospitals and to this date, he’s still admitted at Carolinas Medical Center in Charlotte.
After months of treatment, he says they have a solid diagnosis and his doctors have developed a game plan for treatment. This week he’ll have surgery to put an LVAD device in his heart, an electromechanical circulatory device that is used to partially or completely replace the function of a failing heart.
As Young explained to me, his heart now has somewhat of an expiration date on it. It could me a month, it could be a year, it could be a decade, but it’s not pumping blood throughout his body like it should.
The LVAD is a temporary fix and he’s been placed on a heart transplant list. Once on the list, there isn’t a definite date for the procedure. It could be weeks, it could be months, it could be up to a year.
Young’s outlook though is very positive. He doesn’t want everyone to feel sorry for him, he doesn’t want to draw undue attention to himself or his condition, he simply wants to return to doing what he does best, being a teacher and a football coach.
However, a positive outlook can only take you so far. Being a former coach and remaining close friends with several coaches across the state, I started receiving phone calls and messages from Young’s friends expressing concern, not only for his health, but for the financial stability of his family during this grueling process.
New Bern head coach Bobby Curlings, a college teammate of Young at Guilford College really hit me at my core when he reached out this week and asked me to lead a charge for raising awareness for his condition. While Young and his family haven’t asked for help, I’m going to ask for him. His wife Dianne has had to take off of work to be with her husband. Every moment they can spend together is crucial and should be savored at this point of the process.
I would like to ask all coaches, schools, booster clubs, or just fans of the game that can spare a few dollars to donate to our fundraising site. Yes, insurance will cover much of the medical expenses, but other expenses will soon start to come due and with his wife missing work, every dollar we can contribute will help.
Young has given his all in helping to improve the lives of young men and women, now it’s our time to give back to him and show our support for him.
Contact Chris Hughes at email@example.com and (704) 909-6663 and follow on Twitter @ChrisHughesCP