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Tom Young hired as Mitchell boys' basketball coach, pending board approval

(Republic File Photo) Former Mitchell Christian boys' basketball coach Tom Young is pictured after a game in 2010 at Mitchell Christian School. Young has been hired as Mitchell High School's boys' basketball coach, pending school board approval Monday night.

Tom Young accepted the Mitchell High School boys' basketball coaching position Saturday, he confirmed to The Daily Republic.

"The job was offered and I accepted today," said Young, a Mitchell High School graduate and former Mitchell Christian boys' basketball coach. "I'm excited to be able to work with the kids."

Mitchell Activities Director Geoff Gross and Mitchell School District Superintendent Joe Graves will recommend Young's hiring to the school board Monday night during a scheduled meeting. If the school board approves the hiring, Young will be the first boys' basketball coach in Mitchell not named Gary Munsen since 1973, a year when Young was a sophomore in high school. In 1975, Young was a first-team all-state selection at Mitchell High, playing under Munsen.

"He has to be one of the top prospects for any open position, period," Munsen said. "It really wasn't a surprise when I heard that he was interviewed."

Young is a Mitchell-based optometrist who coached at Mitchell Christian for 18 years. He retired from coaching at the school before the current school year to follow his daughter, Jill, play in her senior season for the South Dakota State University women's basketball team. Jill Young is a senior at SDSU this year and does not have any more eligibility for collegiate basketball.

Young declined further comment about the hiring until after Monday's school board meeting.

Gross said when he notified Young of the school district's decision, Young was excited for the opportunity. Gross was a part of a seven-person committee that reviewed applications for the position. Graves added that Young was the consensus decision for the job.

"He's experienced," Graves said. "He has a real strong sense that coaching is more than just winning games. It's also about developing young men, and he knows that."

Gross agreed that Young's experience set him apart from the field.

"We're excited about what he stands for," said Gross, who added there were several good candidates who interviewed for the job.

Young, an Augustana College graduate, has 327 career wins. He took over at Mitchell Christian in 1994 and won a state championship in 2003 with a 25-0 record. He also led MCHS to a state runner-up finish in 2007. Before coaching at Mitchell Christian, he spent two years at Hanson High School from 1980 to 1982, where he won two district championships.

If Young is hired on Monday night, he'll take over a fairly young team next season. The Kernels are graduating seven seniors from this year's squad that took second at the Class AA state tournament. Guard Seth Cavanaugh -- who will be a senior next year -- will be the lone returner from this year's squad who had a lot of playing time.

Cavanaugh said when he heard of the news, he knew the school hired someone with past success.

"I assume he'll come in and have the right mindset to get us back to the state tournament and help keep a strong tradition in Mitchell," Cavanaugh said. "From what I've seen, he really gets everything out of his players."