One of the noticeable aspects of the coaching tenure of Jeff Monken has been his willingness and intention to combine aspects of the Black Knights past, present, and future within the program. In the past, Monken has invited a number of legendary former players to the Army spring game as honorary captains. Thus the likes of Pete Dawkins, Mike McElrath, and Aaron Alexander have all come back to West Point to be remembered and help push the program forward.
This year Monken is taking it a step further after announcing that Army Hall of Famer Jim Young will return to the Academy as an honorary head coach for the April 30 spring game. Young is the man who is credited with returning the Black Knights to glory after the school suffered through a period where it fell off of the football map. Young took Army to the first three bowl games in program history and built a wishbone offense that was completely unstoppable when it was executed properly.
In his stint at Army, that lasted from 1983-90, Young put together a 51-39-1 record. The bowl games Young took the Black Knights to included wins over Michigan State (Cherry Bowl) and Illinois (Peach Bowl). Young compiled a 5-3 record against Navy, was named National Coach of the Year by the Football Writers Association in 1984 and coached the Black Knights last two first-team All-Americans, Don Smith (1985) and Mike Mayweather (1990).
"It's important to me and the program that we continue to have a relationship with players and coaches from the past," said Monken. "There is a sense of pride knowing that this team is playing for more than just this year's team. They are representing players and coaches from the past. It's important that players, coaches and staff from previous years have ownership in the program and to know we are all in it together."
Spring games can often be dull affairs where the offense is not yet at the level of the defense and the whole thing can be ugly to watch. By bringing these kinds of figures back into the fold the Army athletic department is making sure that fans, at least, have the spectacle of history to look forward to.