When McPherson football coach Tom Young, whose 343 wins rank him second in Kansas high school history, announced his retirement Thursday, he made athletic director Shane Backhus’ job a bit more difficult.
“Replacing a man like Tom Young, that’s a tough proposition for anyone,” Backhus said. “The guy is a living legend. He’s done a lot for our football program, made it relevant in McPherson for the first time since the late ’80s. He’s totally changed the culture here.”
Young, 65, doesn’t necessarily like the idea of retirement. He plans to do something at least part-time. He might be an assistant coach, maybe even move to Texas to coach with his son, Jason.
“I finished the year really mentally fatigued,” Young said. “I know I’m going to miss it a lot, but I think it was the right time.”
Young coached high school football for 44 seasons, winning titles at Hanover, Wellington and Derby and had a 343-111 career record. He ranks second behind Silver Lake coach C.J. Hamilton, who has 381 wins.
When Young was hired as the McPherson coach in 2006, the Bullpups were strictly considered a basketball school. From 1989-2005, the football program was 46-107 with three winning seasons.
Young was 75-22 with nine winning seasons and nine playoff appearances.
Young was at Leavenworth for two seasons before he went to McPherson. In his first season, 2004, Leavenworth won three of its first six games. It had won eight games in eight seasons before Young arrived.
He won his last title in 1994 while at Derby. He coached Derby for 21 seasons, advancing to the 6A title game in three straight years.
He was 172-40 at Derby before resigning in 2003.
“We talked a little bit. He’s working 90 hours a week,” Backhus said. “He’s ready for a change.”