Young, Howard share in the boys' county bounty Mustangs listen and learn, and the lessons pay off Coach of the Year

March 19, 1993|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,Staff Writer

Before the 1992-93 basketball season began, veteran Meade coach Butch Young said of his Mustangs: "There's going to be a lot of teaching going on between Dec. 15 and 29. We're really small overall."

The students listened and learned, because the Mustangs became the surprise of the boys basketball season, winning Class 4A Region IV and advancing to the state final with a 21-4 record. The Mustangs' dream season ended with an 82-70 loss to Largo of Prince George's County in the tournament final.

For this successful season, Young has been named The Baltimore Sun's Anne Arundel County Boys Basketball Coach of the Year for the second time since 1982-83, when he shared the award with Southern's Tom Albright. Albright (413-230), who has spent all 28 of his varsity seasons in Harwood, is the only county coach to win more games than Young (393-203).

Young coached 10 varsity seasons at Severna Park (112-100) before starting the Meade program 16 years ago. He is 281-103 at Meade.

This year's region title and the trip to Cole Field House was the third for Young at Meade. His 1983 and 1988 teams (both 23-2 overall) qualified, but neither made the final as this year's team did by upsetting top seed Springbrook of Montgomery County, 79-69.

"It's a special group of kids, who play hard all the time," Young has said frequently this season.

In previewing his team back in December, Young, who never has been very optimistic before the first tip-off, told everyone that "we have no height and no playing experience."

Young had only one player with varsity experience, guard Derek Barrett (18.9 ppg), and he had one player up from JV, 5-foot-7 junior reserve Dennis Jenks. He lost several expected returnees to military or disciplinary transfers.

And that's where the teaching and coaching came in.

Young honed the skills and confidence of the seniors -- 6-foot swing man Danny Sancomb (17.9) and point guard Tommy Stevens -- and two players who had been cut from JV as freshmen and who spent their sophomore years as the 16th and 17th men on a 15-man JV.

Juniors Tyrone "Sticks" Jones (5-11) and Paul "Bones" Turner (6-0) played as freshmen, took a year off and came back this season. Each made significant contributions, as did several others, from a bench Young didn't think he had.

Young is not one to take all the credit for the team's improvement.

"When you have a top assistant, like I do in Jimmy Meade [an assistant to his former coach for 13 years], you don't worry about things getting done," said Young shortly after returning from a few days in the hospital early in the season.

"Jimmy's going to be a great head coach one day, and I don't know what I would do without him."

When Young was being tested at North Arundel Hospital for severe headaches and blurred vision, the Mustangs suffered their first loss, 60-58, at Southern of Harwood after starting the season with eight straight wins.

Meade bounced back with Young's return to the bench and won six more games before losing again. Young decided to put off further tests and a possible operation until after the season.

"I didn't want to miss the rest of this season," said Young of what may have been his most satisfying.

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