West’s Young voted AP Coach of the Year
By Aaron Beard
RALEIGH ó Scott Young had seen his West Rowan team grow into an elite program that wins conference championships and makes runs in the state playoffs.
He just couldn’t help but wonder if the Falcons would ever be able to break through and win their first state title.
This year, his players answered that question with the best season in school history, a performance that was enough for Young to be named The Associated Press prep football coach of the year for North Carolina.
“You’d never say it publicly, but in the back of your mind, you wonder if you’ve done all you can do at our school,” Young said. “Our philosophy was if you kept knocking on the door eventually it would open. That’s what happened with these guys this year.
“I appreciate the honor, and that honor is truly a staff honor. But this year, it’s not just a staff honor. It goes to our entire team and program.”
Young earned eight of a possible 20 votes from statewide sports writers in voting results released Thursday. Newton-Conover’s Nick Bazzle finished second with five votes after leading the Red Devils to their first state title and a school-record 15 wins. Thomasville’s Allen Brown, whose team won the 1AA title, and Kinston’s Battle Holley each earned three votes to tie for third. A.L. Brown’s Ron Massey was also a candidate.
Young led the Falcons (15-1) to the Class 3A championship earlier this month. The school also won at least a share of the NPC for the fifth straight season. On Wednesday, three Falcons ó running back K.P. Parks, offensive lineman Tim Pangburn and defensive lineman Chris Smith ó made the AP All-State team for North Carolina, the most of any school.
It was just the latest strong season for West Rowan under Young, who has gone 103-37 in 11 seasons. Before his arrival in 1998, the program went 147-240 and had just two playoff wins and no conference titles.
The Falcons, who have won at least 10 games each of the last seasons, had never made it past the third round of the playoffs before this year. The difference in 2008, Young said, was a perfect mix of chemistry and character on the team.
“Our kids just made it such a unique and easy season this year,” he said. “I’ve not had teams like this one as far as chemistry and character of the kids. You go that long (through a season), a couple of times a year you’re in the principal’s office because a kid messed up in class or cut class, but we had no issues like that this year. You have to have talent to win, but having talented players with good character is what makes you win at a high level.”
The season ended with a 35-7 win against previously unbeaten West Craven in the 3A final in Winston-Salem, leaving Young with a feeling of relief that the team had made good on its opportunity to win a state championship.
“There are some great coaches out there with 200 and 300 wins that never even make it to a state title game, much less win it,” Young said. “I realize how special it is and what our kids accomplished this year. I was just very relieved that our kids were able to do it.”