Thursday, August 22, 2013

Freeman Profiles Coach Young

from today's Waukesha Freeman - 

Still YOUNG at heart
Legendary CMH football coach not slowing down
- Freeman Staff 

WAUKESHA – Age hasn’t affected Bill Young.

He has been teaching at Catholic Memorial High School since 1975, which is when he began coaching wrestling and football. He became head football coach in 1978. The Crusaders will kick off Young’s 36th season as their head coach Friday against Milwaukee Riverside.

His opposition can clearly see that age isn’t catching up to the coach.

“Over the years I have heard he has mellowed significantly from offthe- charts intense to extremely intense,” Waukesha West coach Steve Rux said with a laugh. “Every time I see Bill, I think he hasn’t aged.”

Watching the 62-yearold Young run his team, it is hard to envision he has been doing so for more than 30 years. A physical education teacher at Memorial, Young still keeps in tremendous shape and doesn’t look to be slowing any time soon. He’s still a taskmaster who can keep a team in line and on the right path.

He was rewarded for the hard work last season, when his team captured the WIAA Division 3 state championship, his first in the WIAA after
 four private-schools titles.

“We all change as get a little bit older,” said Greg Gamalski, CMH’s athletic director and a former assistant coach for Young. “Bill has mellowed a little bit, but not much. He is a hard-hat, lunch-bucket coach. That’s the way he was brought up by his parents. Bill knows the meaning of hard work and the rewards of hard work.

“I watched practice recently: He hasn’t changed a whole heck of
 a lot.”

Young’s energy begins pretty early in the day. He is awake before 5 a.m. each day, and he’s at school by 5:20. He lifts weights at the school two days a week and works out on an elliptical machine three days. He spends the school day teaching physical education at Memorial and leads practice after school. He can usually be found at the school for a few hours after practice breaking down film or
doing other work that comes with being a head football coach. 

“I have a great respect and passion for the game,” Young said. “It’s something that I always wanted to do, and I’ve been really blessed to have an opportunity at a great school.

“I don’t have any other hobbies but football. Like all coaches do, I probably think about it every day of the year.”

Young graduated in 1968 from Milwaukee Lutheran High School, where he earned varsity letters in football and basketball. He was a member of conference champion football teams his junior and senior seasons, and the basketball team won a league title his junior season.

Young lettered in football and wrestling while at Concordia University in Illinois, and he began coaching at Walther Lutheran High School in Melrose Park, Ill.

He came to Memorial three years after graduating from Concordia and has left quite a mark on the school. He has five state titles, five private-schools state runner-up finishes and one WIAA state runner-up finish. His teams have become perennial playoff competitors that always seem to compete in a Classic 8 Conference filled with schools with much larger enrollment.

“He was the reason I got into coaching,” said CMH assistant Matt Bergan, who played football and wrestled for Young before graduating in 2002. “The No. 1 thing is his ability to prepare his team. It’s an all-year thing, not just during the season.

“He’s not a U rah rah guy, he’s a leader by example. He’s one of the most reliable guys you’ll ever meet. He’s always there early, always prepared. The guy is just an absolute grinder of a football coach and a teacher.”

Young’s daughter, Sara, is proud of her father.

“The fact that my dad has so many former players come back and want to coach for him says something about my dad’s character,” Sara said. “I don’t think there are any other staffs out there like my dad’s.”

While he leads the program, Young is quick to point out he’s not the only reason for success. There’s a roster full of players and a list of assistants who have helped Young turn CMH into a perennial powerhouse.

“The biggest thing is we’ve had a good run of kids,” Young said.

“We’ve had a couple losing seasons here and there, but for the most part we’re competitive year in and year out.

“I’ve been blessed with great assistant coaches. I have a bunch of guys on staff who played for me. To have those guys play for Memorial and turn out to be outstanding young coaches is great. You really need them in a league so competitive as the Classic 8.”

While he’s got a large staff now, Young began coaching at Memorial with only Gamalski and Ed Baumann as his assistants.

“He’s learned to delegate responsibilities, which has helped him remain successful,” Gamalski said. “It’s hard for a head coach to give up certain bits and pieces he’s accustomed to doing, but he’s done a good job allowing the assistants to coach and do their thing.

“When Bill got the head coaching job, he didn’t have any assistants, He came to me and asked if I’d like to be an assistant. He asked if I knew anybody who could be our line coach. I called Ed up and said, ‘Ed, we need help.’” Having Gamalski and Baumann helped with more than football. The three turned out to be great friends over the years, and their families began to interact as well. With the three constantly
 around a football field, the families became close.

“His family fully understands that Bill’s second love outside his family is football,” Gamalski said. “They go to all the games, follow him wherever he goes. It’s never been an issue with him.

“When we started having families, they all just hung out together at games. Everybody knew, wives included, that we were hook, line and sinker football coaches. Our families interacted socially and went from there.”

Young is quick to point out his biggest supporter and the person who helped him become one of the state’s most successful coaches.

“I’ve been really blessed with my wife, Gail, who I’ve been married to for 38 years,” Young said. “She’s allowed me to do this.”

Young was able to coach his twin sons, Aaron and Brad, who are now 33. Sara, was a basketball player at Milwaukee Lutheran and Cardinal Stritch, and Young was able to catch nearly all her games as well.

“I miss some stuff, but not the
 real big stuff,” he said. “Aaron and Brad were both all-conference receivers, and I won a state championship with those guys. In winter, coaching wrestling, I was able to watch my daughter play.”

Opposing coaches have gained a lot of respect for Young.

“Battling against Bill Young has been an honor,” said Dave Rusch, who is in his 22nd year as coach at Waukesha South. “Bill is a competitive man who understands the game. I admire and respect him very much.

“Bill is what I call real. He is the same on and off the field. Over the years he holds true to who he is and what he stands for no matter how much the game has changed.

“He truly is a great man who I consider a legend.”

Former Kettle Moraine coach Mike Fink, who is still the KM’s athletic director, coached many years against Young in the Classic 8.

“Coach Young was an incredible competitor on the field,” Fink said. “Off the field, he was a different person, much more relaxed and easy going. Coach Young has been successful because he has a coaching style and philosophy that he believes in and he sticks to it. Many of the young coaches today have tendencies to switch offensively and defensively and try to implement what is the hot new offense or defense. Coach Young has a system that works and he sticks to it. He is not going to change; he expects his players to fit into his system.”

And those who work for Young share that same respect.

“It has been a great learning experience to watch coach Young model, mentor and coach our student athletes,” said CMH offensive coordinator Bob Hall. “He is truly a 12-month, 24-hour, 7-day-aweek hard-hat and lunch-box coach. He approaches each day with the strongest work ethic I’ve seen.”

His daughter added, “He cares about his players deeply and gives everything that he has to the team. I have spoken to numerous former players and the words that they use to describe my father bring tears to my eyes. They love and respect my dad.

“Our family knows that during the months of July to hopefully late November, dad is going to be focused on football. He still manages to be there for his family and be a great father and husband.”


At a glance

 Bill Young What: Catholic Memorial High School football coach


 wife, Gail; twin sons, Aaron and Brad, 33; daughter, Sara, 29 Education: 1968 graduate of Milwaukee Lutheran High School, graduated from Concordia University in Illinois in 1973Education: Milwaukee Lutheran High School, Concordia University (Illinois) Success: 2012 WIAA Division 3 state championship, four Division 1 private-schools state titles, five private- schools state runner-up finishes, one WIAA Division 2 state runner- up finish 

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