Kevin Kinder\

Former West Virginia Player, Coach & Administrator Donnie Young Was Named To 2016 Class Of The School's Sports Hall Of Fame

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. - Donnie Young literally did it all at West Virginia during more than four decades as a player, coach and administrator. Now, the school will honor the achievements when Young is inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame on Sept. 10.

Young, one of seven members of the school's 26th class, played at West Virginia from 1962-64 before starting his collegiate coaching career as the freshman head coach under Bobby Bowden in 1970. From there, Young spent more than 40 years working within the program as an assistant and administrator before retiring in 2012 after having helped the Mountaineers play for two national championships, earn seven Big East championships, participate in 25 bowl games and win eight or more games 22 times, won nine or more games 14 times and 10 or more games six times. Young also coached nine All-East or All-Big East players and one consensus All-American in Canute Curtis in 1996.

But it's the off-the-field friendships and memories that Young says he has most cherished, including watching the development of student-athletes into college graduates ready for both the workforce and to contribute within the community. 

"To me, the best memory would be the number of players I played with and recruited and were involved with," Young said. "I've been involved as a player and coach for more than 40 years, so that's one thing I'll probably be speaking on (during the induction). It's the time we spent together as players and staff and coaches. It's really more about the off-the-field stuff, the players and people you coached.

"I had Canute Curtis and some other really great kids that were great people. You make some really good friends. A lot of my memories are from bowl games. We went to a lot of bowl games and sometimes it all runs together the older you get, but I'm very thankful for those times and the people I played with."

Among them former WVU player and longtime defensive coordinator Steve Dunlap. Young recruited Dunlap out of Hurricane, W.Va. in 1972, but says he was unsure if Dunlap had the talent to play at a major college level.

"Steve was from a small high school, and I looked at film and was not sure he would play," Young said. "But I felt he deserved a chance to play, so I recruited him and when he was a sophomore he stepped up at linebacker. I coached linebackers at that time, and he became a really good linebacker. And as time went by, he became a great student of the game all around and he's had quite the career all around."

On both the field and sidelines. Dunlap still holds the school record for single season tackles with 190 - set when he was a junior in 1974 - and also ranks ninth in school history in total tackles with 359. After graduation, he took a grad assistant position at West Virginia before coaching linebackers and defensive backs. Dunlap then served as the Mountaineers' defensive coordinator from 1992-2000, helping the program to an undefeated regular season in 1993 and overseeing the nation's No. 1 ranked total defense in 1996. Young served as linebackers coach both of those years, and helped Curtis earned consensus All-America honors as a finalist for the Butkus and Bronko Nagurski Awards in 1996. During that same season, Young helped the WVU defense earn NCAA rankings of first in the nation in total defense (217.5 ypg), second in rushing defense (61.5 ypg), fourth in scoring defense (12.4 ppg) and fifth in pass efficiency defense (86.8). The Mountaineers' plus 1.27 turnover margin was second in the country.

Young began his coaching career as an assistant coach at Salem in 1966, before serving as the head coach for three years (1967-69), finishing with a three-year record of 19-6-1. His 1969 team posted an 8-1 record and was ranked in the NAIA Top 20, earning him West Virginia Conference Coach of the Year honors. He started his tenure at WVU in 1970 under Bowden before being promoted to linebackers coach in 1971. Young then remained on new head coach Frank Cignetti’s staff in 1976 as assistant head coach and also served as the defensive coordinator in 1977. He received his bachelor’s degree in physical education and biology from WVU in 1966 and his master’s degree in physical education and safety from WVU in 1967.

"I was excited," Young said of receiving the congratulatory phone call from Director of Athletics Shane Lyons. "As a player, you don't really think about it, and as a coach it's even that much more different to receive an honor. It was a surprise, but a very good surprise."

Young now splits his time between Morgantown and Florida, where he and his wife, Chyleen can spend more time with their two children – Tabitha and Chad, both WVU graduates – and five grandchildren, Melody, Timmy, Levi, Dawson and Anabelle. But the pull of Mountaineer football puts a twist in Young's schedule, as he is among the few people to spend the summers in Florida and the autumn afternoons in a more northern locale.

"We have a home in Florida until late August, then we came back to Morgantown for the football season," Young said. "It's still part of my things I really remember about WVU and people of West Virginia. Even now, I'll be at an airport somewhere and you see a logo on a hat and people greet each other because of that. The people are like no others."

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