Young undecided about coaching next seasonFirst-year Mitchell High School boys’ basketball coach Tom Young said Monday he’s undecided about returning for a second season.
By: Brooke Cersosimo, The Daily Republic
First-year Mitchell High School boys’ basketball coach Tom Young said Monday he’s undecided about returning for a second season.
Young, in a question-and-answer session with The Daily Republic, said he needs to visit with several people before making a decision.
“I always take one year at a time. It was what I did at Mitchell Christian almost every year,” he said of his previous coaching job. “I will try to make the right decision for MHS and my family.”
The Kernels concluded their season with a 59-37 loss Friday against Aberdeen Central. The team ended with a 5-17 record and failed to prolong a 10-year streak of Class AA state tournament appearances. Yet, of the five victories, two opponents — Brandon Valley and Watertown — were ranked in the top five.
Following is the rest of The Daily Republic’s conversation with Young.
Q: From your standpoint, how did the season go?
A: From my standpoint, the season went well. I know the kids and the coaches were disappointed that we didn’t play better in districts, However, I thought we showed some definite improvement as the season went along. That also certainly applies to the freshmen, sophomore and junior varsity teams.
Q: What were your expectations coming into your first year as head coach?
A: I did not have any win-loss expectations, and as I said over and over, I just wanted the kids to give effort every day and try to improve.
Q: Now that the season has concluded, was it what you expected it to be?
A: I knew this year would be a challenge because of adapting to a new coach and the lack of experience and size. I knew going in that they were good kids and that proved to be very true.
Q: What was the high point of your season?
A: There were several high points. The wins against Watertown and Brandon Valley and seeing how excited the players were after those games. I enjoyed spending my time with the boys on a daily basis. Even though it was a tough year record-wise, they never gave up and as the year went along, they got better.
I think the last game was just one of those nights in sports where you just don’t have it and the other team played very well. I feel bad for them. I may be wrong, but I felt they were still listening to all the things I was trying to teach them, and I appreciated that very much. I also enjoyed very much getting to know the rest of the coaching staff. They are outstanding and really care about the kids.
Q: Some people may take your comment, which was in Saturday’s edition, about eligibility and training rules as a knock on former coach Gary Munsen. Was it?
A: Absolutely not. Coach Munsen and I are friends and he has been very supportive. I have utmost respect for what he has accomplished over the years including the four years I played for him.
I was praising my kids as every coach seems to have to deal with off-the-court issues as I have had to many times in previous years, especially eligibility issues. To have a team that doesn’t is a real blessing to any coach. My comment was a direct result of my frustration of having my team — high school kids — having to bear the burden of being compared to the so-called “worst” Kernel teams.
Personally, I know of many positive things that these kids have done through the year and those things can be overlooked by placing emphasis on their record. If my players had a Mike Miller or some other really good, big player or even Coach Munsen, they could have won more games. The only thing they could control was their attitude and effort, and that’s all I asked of them. If people want to criticize me, OK, but I am very protective of the kids.
That philosophy can apply to all high school sports. I would much rather receive the blame for the record than placing it on high school kids who are participating in an extra-curricular activity. I can assure you, there are many real winners in the basketball program, grades nine through 12.
Q: In all of your years as a coach, where does this rank as far as most challenging?
A: The travel and time commitment have been the biggest challenges. The kids are great and the assistant coaches were great.
Q: What will you miss about this year’s seniors?
A: I will miss them most — as I do all my seniors — people that I have spent a lot of time with. These seniors have amazing potential to have an impact on others as they graduate and move on. I have seen them in situations where they have shown that they genuinely care for the well-being of others and they have made me proud. We weren’t the perfect basketball team and I certainly wasn’t the best coach, but I really care about how they will do in life and what kind of impact they will have in life.
Q: Are you coming back next season?
A: I need to visit with coaches, administration and family before making any decision.