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Young ready for next challenge

Former Mitchell High School basketball coach Tom Young walks the sidelines of a Kernel game against Brandon Valley in Dec. 2012 at the Corn Palace in Mitchell. (Nick McCutcheon/Republic)

Tom Young said his return to the sidelines as a head coach in 2014-15 with the Ethan girls basketball team is fueled by the passion for teaching and helping kids in basketball and life that he said never left.

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Young, 57, accepted the job on June 16 with the Rustler team that went 17-5 in 2013-14 and returns a strong core of players. The former Mitchell Christian and Mitchell High School boys coach said he wants to continue making an impact on the lives of kids.

"I still have the passion to work with kids," Young said, adding that the decision to return as a head coach was a difficult decision. "I wanted to make sure that if I was going to commit, that I was going to be able to commit wholeheartedly."

After two years of coaching at Hanson High School in the early 1980s, Young coached the Mitchell Christian boys basketball team from 1994 to 2012 before taking the reigns of the Mitchell High School boys team for one season in 2012-13. After leaving the Kernels, Young spent the 2013-14 season back on the sidelines with the Golden Eagles as an assistant.

Young decided following the 2012-13 season with the Kernels to resign to deal with his health, as well as spend time at home with his family. Young said he was suffering from a herniated disk and other health issues.

"My health is so much better now and my neck injury has been taken care of," Young said. "I feel a lot better. I enjoyed my time with Mitchell Christian as an assistant, but I just felt like I wanted to try head coaching again."

He added that the travel required during the Mitchell boys season was the main reason he decided to leave the program. He wanted to spend more time at home with family. Young said coaching at Mitchell was a dream job, but it was in the best interest of the program at the time for him to step down.

Young, who lives in Mitchell, said he is completely grateful for the time he spent and the opportunities he received at Mitchell Christian and Mitchell High School. He added that the Kernels have a great coach in place now, Erik Skoglund, who will bring his own energy and passion to the Corn Palace.

Young decided that he would look into the possibility for a head coaching job for the upcoming season after working with kids individually over the past couple of years.

Ethan was attractive by its location, Young said. The travel is less strenuous and will allow Young to be closer to home more often during the season. He is also excited about the passion for basketball from the community in Ethan.

"I've been really blessed in my time at Mitchell Christian and Mitchell with kids that really cared," Young said, adding he has heard the same positive attitude exists with the Rustler girls. "I'm excited to work with kids that really want to learn."

Young was not able to see the Ethan girls play last year while he was working with the Golden Eagles. The Rustlers fell to Hanson in double overtime of the District 8 title game. Ethan was 33-9 over two seasons under former coach Scott Giblin.

"The challenge for a coach, no matter who it is, is to try to get the most potential out of your teams and to put your kids in the best possible position for success," Young said. "It's way more than just basketball. It's hopefully teaching kids life lessons."

This will be the first high school head coaching job for Young on the girls side, but he said he has worked in the past with girls at the AAU level. He also worked extensively with his own daughter, Jill (Young) Sargent, when she played for Mitchell Christian.

Young said he doesn't expect a significant change from the boys game to his new job with the Ethan girls. Sargent told her father she was positive of the impact he can make on the Rustler team, telling him that, "The people that have had the most impact on me have been male coaches."

Future plans for coaching will be dealt with in the same way Young has done in the past. He will take it one year at a time.

"I believe you can't plan, especially at my age, that far ahead," Young said. "If it turns out good, I look forward to putting in another year. I don't have to coach. I just enjoy coaching and working with kids."