SUFFOLK — Nansemond River’s Ed Young has heard a lot of advice during his 33 years of coaching basketball.
But one of the best things he heard had nothing to do with the game.
While working a basketball camp with former N.C. State coach Jim Valvano, he asked the legendary coach why he dressed so sharply for games. Valvano’s first reason was his clothes were free, so he had to wear them.
“Second, he said, ‘If you don’t play good, you better look good,’” said Young, who now owns more than 30 suits and nearly 200 ties. “That’s the one I liked. If we didn’t play well, at least someone can say you looked good.”
Young has been a snappy dresser during his coaching career. And on Tuesday, he looked good and reached a career milestone: 500 victories. Chris Hayes scored 18 points and Jalen Duckett and Jeremiah Broome scored 14 points each as the Warriors defeated Deep Creek 81-48 to improve to 12-5 this season.
Young is just the fourth high school boys basketball coach from Hampton Roads to accomplish that feat. Jack Baker won 746 games over 41 seasons with Maury — third in Virginia High School League history; Walter Brower won 589 games over 33 seasons for Hampton; and Bill Cochrane won 557 games over 38 seasons with Kempsville, Green Run and Salem.
Young is the winningest high school basketball coach in Suffolk history.
“In high school basketball, that’s a milestone because if you were to win 20 games a year, it would take you 12 years to reach 500, and that’s going undefeated,” Young said. “Most coaches don’t last 500 games. And I’m not old and just hanging on trying to coach. I still have the energy, I still fuss and I still run the sideline.”
Young began his high school coaching career in Suffolk at Suffolk Central. That was followed by stops at Norview, Altoona (Pennsylvania) High, Green Run and the past 18 seasons at Nansemond River. He also coached on the college level briefly.
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As he thought about his milestone win last week, Young harkened back to all of the players and assistant coaches who helped him look good. He also wanted to thank all the principals and athletic directors who believed in him. “Even when I was getting my butt kicked,” he said.
At Suffolk Central, Young won 10 district titles, six region crowns and advanced to three state tournaments, winning the 1987 Class A state championship.
Young won that title in his fourth season as a high school coach. He admits that he thought more state titles were on the horizon.
“I expected it. I really did, but it wasn’t to be,” he said. “That’s the biggest disappointment in my career was that I wasn’t able to get more teams to the state tournament, help more teams win a state title.”
Young said he hopes more wins are in the future. But he said he doesn’t want to keep coaching just to coach and add to his win total.
“I want to continue coaching unless my health isn’t good or I don’t think I’m making a difference,” he said. “Then it’s time to step aside.”
Larry Rubama, 757-575-6449, firstname.lastname@example.org Follow @LHRubama on Twitter