Mitchell boys’ coach Tom Young shares expectations for Kernels’ futureTom Young said he still feels like the new guy. The Mitchell boys’ basketball coach who was hired in April spoke to about 35 people at a Rotary Club meeting Thursday at the Ramada Inn in Mitchell. Despite his age of 55, and the 20 years he’s spent coaching basketball, Young said it’s been a strange experience getting back into coaching after a one-year absence.
By: Luke Hagen, The Daily Republic
Tom Young said he still feels like the new guy.
The Mitchell boys’ basketball coach who was hired in April spoke to about 35 people at a Rotary Club meeting Thursday at the Ramada Inn in Mitchell.
Despite his age of 55, and the 20 years he’s spent coaching basketball, Young said it’s been a strange experience getting back into coaching after a one-year absence.
“I understand there are going to be growing pains, but this is an important summer for us,” said Young, who took a year away from coaching last year to watch his daughter, Jill, play her senior year on the South Dakota State University women’s basketball team. “It’s a work in progress.”
Young spoke for about 20 minutes about his philosophy on coaching and what he expects for the future of the team. He said when he graduated from college at Augustana, he originally wanted to become a baseball coach, which he did for one year in Minnesota.
After coaching two seasons of basketball at Hanson, Mitchell Christian lured him into coaching the boys’ basketball team after he originally turned down the job.
“I told them I would do it for one year,” Young said. “That one year snowballed into 18.”
Young retired from coaching last spring and spent the entire winter following his daughter and the Jackrabbits as they qualified for their fourth straight NCAA national tournament. Jill is getting married to former SDSU men’s basketball player Clint Sargent in about two weeks, and both will play professionally in Germany later this year.
When Young applied for the open Mitchell High School boys’ basketball coaching job, vacated by longtime coach Gary Munsen, he wasn’t convinced he would get the position. He thought his chances were “pretty low.” After getting the job, he waited until June 1 for his first instructional coaching with the team.
Since then, he’s been working with the team at camps and looking to make the players better athletes and shooters. Young said his team won a game at Thursday morning’s camp.
“I think we have a lot of potential,” Young said. “But I have a few problems coming in. I want to get the kids to trust me, and at this point I’m not sure they do. The second thing is I want them to make a commitment to get them better.”
Young said he’s always been impressed with Mitchell’s entire basketball program, because players have learned the fundamentals at a young age. He said he’s a fan of man-to-man defense, but he added there are a lot of ways to be successful on the basketball court.
The biggest factor in his coaching tenure, he said, is having a positive influence on his players’ lives.
“If you look at successful people, in whatever walk of life, there’s a high level of self-discipline there,” Young said. “I want the kids to have a passion to do their very best, and the key to that is self-discipline.”