On the verge of 400 wins One to go: Meade's Butch Young could become the second county boys basketball coach with 400 wins if his team wins a playoff game Tuesday.

February 23, 1996|By Pat O'Malley | Pat O'Malley,SUN STAFF

If Meade defeats Chesapeake Tuesday in the quarterfinals of the 4A East region boys basketball playoffs, Mustangs coach Butch Young will be only the second in Anne Arundel County history to reach 400 career wins.

Southern's Tom Albright (450-259, .635, 31 seasons) is the only other county coach to achieve the milestone.

However, it may take some doing to convince Young, who blows off the mere mention of the milestone, to believe it.

Two years ago, everyone thought Young was on the verge of 400 only to discover that JV victories from Brooklyn Park where he was 62-18 in four seasons had been included.

No. 400 was put on hold.

Last Saturday after Meade upset Glen Burnie, 57-54, the Gophers' veteran and PA announcer Max Powers bellowed, "congratulations to Meade coach Butch Young for his 400th career win."

Powers had received bad information and Young could only shake his head in disbelief.

"I don't worry about that stuff," said Young, who appeared embarrassed by the attention. "It just shows that you've been around for awhile."

Young, 56, has been a physical education teacher for 35 years and a basketball coach for 33 years after playing on state championship teams at Valley High in Western Maryland in 1956 and 1957.

Young left Brooklyn Park to become head coach at Severna Park in 1967 and spent 10 years there (86-120) before starting Meade's program in 1977 and spending the last 19 years (313-137) as coach of the Mustangs.

At Severna Park, Young had only three winning seasons before becoming an instant winner at Meade.

Young was 20-5 his inaugural season at Meade, winning the county A-B league championship. It was the first of 16 consecutive winning seasons at Meade before a .500 (11-11) campaign in 1993-94 and his only losing season (9-13), which came last year.

Young has won 20 games or more six times, the best in 1987-88 (23-2), some sort of a county title seven times and been to Cole Field House for the state final four three times in 1983, 1988 and 1993.

Such All-County players as Corey Wallace (1983 county Player of the Year), John Thurston, Marlin Parker, Kendel Matthews, Kevin Bratcher, Eric Wade, Trey Jenkins, William Quigley, Matt Cohen, Rick Somerville, Dimitri Weston, Ron Hubbard, Derek Barrett and Danny Sancomb are among the Meade alumni.

Meade was a 4A state finalist in '93 and was named county Coach of the Year a second time (shared it with Albright in 1983) and The Sun's Metro Coach of the Year for the first time. That season was like a roller coaster.

Severe headaches and blurred vision forced Young into North Arundel Hospital for tests in the middle of that season. Within a few days he was back coaching, preferring not to talk about his problem.

Young put off surgery until after the season so as not to miss any more games.

With the coach in the hospital, the Mustangs lost their first game after eight straight wins, but won the next two in Young's absence with longtime assistant Jimmy Meade running the team.

Upon Young's return, Meade reeled off a six-game winning streak and by season's end found itself at Cole Field House as the No. 4 seed. The Mustangs upset top-seeded Springbrook of Montgomery County, 79-69, in the state semis before losing the final, 82-70, to Largo of Prince George's.

"That was a special group of kids," said Young who had only one returning starter in All-Metro guard Derek Barrett. "We didn't have any height and two starters [Sancomb and Tommy Stevens] were cut from JV as freshmen and were the 16th and 17th men on JV as sophomores.

"They surprised a lot of people."

Before this season with just one returning starter, he joked that he didn't know if his team was going "north or south and defensively, we might have to cheat and play a little zone."

The team was no better than a .500 club most of the season until last week when Young turned what should have been a devastating negative into a positive and made his team a dangerous opponent for the region playoffs.

Young lost three starters to academic ineligibility and his team actually got better. The nine remaining players stepped it up and upset the top two North division teams in North County (80-78 in OT) and Glen Burnie to finish the regular season at 12-10 overall and 9-7 in the North.

"They're a better team now than they were before they lost those three players, and that's a compliment to Butch's coaching, " said Glen Burnie coach Terry Bogle.

The word retirement has been associated with Young the last few years, but his wife, Barbara, also a veteran teacher, has encouraged him to stick with it because she knows how much he loves it.

How much does Young love it?

When the school wanted to do away with the Meade Christmas tournament a couple years ago and not have to worry about scheduling a custodian to clean up the gym, Young took on the responsibility to keep the tournament alive.

Young's record

A look at Butch Young's career mark of 399-257 (.608) during 10 years at Severna Park and 19 years at Meade.

Year ....... School .......... Record

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