Originally created 04/27/04

Newest choice easy for Jackets



North Augusta High School interviewed a total of nine people over the past few weeks in an effort to fill its head boys basketball coaching position.

Yellow Jackets athletics director Joe Long talked to old coaches and young coaches. He spoke with alums of North Augusta and those whom had coached with the Yellow Jackets before.

"But I only talked to one Al Young," Long said. "I've made a lot of hires here. Some I've relished. Some I've regretted. There was no debate about Al and not an ounce of second-guess in my mind deciding on him as our new boys basketball coach."

Young, the current athletic director and girls basketball coach at Cross Creek, brings an impressive resume to his new post.

He played three seasons in the NFL with the Pittsburgh Steelers and worked in their scouting department for five years after that. Young, 54, has built a successful coaching career from that foundation.

"I felt like the ingredients were here to be successful," Young said. "I felt I could bring a few things to the table from my experience in a lot of different situations in coaching."

Young lives less than two miles from the North Augusta campus. Long and Young are neighbors.

"I have to drive by Coach Young's house on my way to get out of my neighborhood," Long said. "Every time I ever visited him or his wife I always said to myself, 'Boy I sure wish he was here coaching at our school.' "

Both of Young's boys were Yellow Jackets. His youngest, Andre, is off to college on a football scholarship this fall. Anthony recently finished his senior season on the Wake Forest football team.

The father has flirted with an opportunity to coach the Yellow Jackets, be it in football or basketball, in the past. Timing led to the move finally taking place.

"The opportunity to coach here now is finally right," Young said. "There was no factor in waiting for my boys to graduate before coming here. We tried before but the teaching positions just weren't there at those times."

Young led the Silver Bluff boys basketball team to a state title game appearance in 1992.

"He's coached at a number of schools and been successful at every stop," Long said. "Every place he has been, his players have loved him. That was important but he's also a disciplinarian. His players are going to have to walk a certain line."

Young will teach physical education and also coach defensive ends on the North Augusta football team this fall.

"This is just an ideal place to build a program and serve the community I live in," Young said. "This community has tremendous feeder programs at the middle school and recreational level that churn out solid players."

Reach Jeff Sentell at (706) 823-3425 or jeff.sentell@augustachronicle.com.