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Hokies turn to Wofford’s Young to replace Williams

BLACKSBURG, Va. — Virginia Tech has settled on longtime Wofford head coach Mike Young to replace Buzz Williams to lead the Hokie basketball program.

 Mike Young

Mike Young

The following is a news release from Tech’s athletic department:

Virginia Tech President Dr. Tim Sands and Director of Athletics Whit Babcock announced on Sunday that Mike Young has accepted the men’s basketball head coaching position at Virginia Tech.

The Radford, Virginia native joins the Hokies after a record-setting 17-year tenure at Wofford. The Terriers posted a 30-5 overall record in 2018-19, including a perfect 18-0 mark in Southern Conference play and registered a convincing 84-68 win over Seton Hall in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament.

“We are fortunate to have been able to recruit Mike Young to Virginia Tech, not only because of his proven leadership and coaching ability, but because Coach Young is home in Southwest Virginia and leads his life in the true Hokie tradition of integrity and commitment to service,” Dr. Sands said. “I look forward to the excitement and success we will enjoy as Coach Young and his student-athletes hit the court and compete to win. Laura and I are excited to welcome Coach Young and his family to Virginia Tech and Blacksburg. We look forward to sharing our campus and the many Hokie traditions that make this place home for all of us.”

The 2019 Sporting News Coach of the Year, Young finished third in this season’s AP Coach of the Year voting behind Texas Tech’s Chris Beard and Houston’s Kelvin Sampson. In his 17 seasons at the helm as head coach of Wofford College, Young built the Terriers into one of the Southern Conference’s preeminent programs and a perennial NCAA Tournament participant. He guided Wofford to five NCAA Tournament berths over the past 10 seasons and three Southern Conference championships. In addition to the on-court success of his teams, 100 percent of Young’s student-athletes at Wofford who completed their eligibility graduated.

“Coach Young has earned tremendous respect and admiration across the nation for the integrity and winning tradition that were trademarks of his program at Wofford,” Babcock said. “His track record of winning consistently on the basketball court combined with his ability to develop young men into leaders and help them fulfill their potential academically and athletically appealed to us at Virginia Tech. His propensity as a recruiter, a teacher and an innovative coach are all attributes that will serve him well at Tech.

“We are excited to welcome Coach Young and Margaret to the Virginia Tech community along with their daughter, Cooper, and their son, Davis,” Babcock continued. “I’m confident that Hokies everywhere will embrace them as we embark on the next chapter in the history of our basketball program. Owning ties to the New River Valley and longstanding relationships with coaches across the ACC region, we felt that Coach Young would be a natural fit to lead our program at Tech.

In addition to a host of coaching accolades, Young currently serves as a member of the NCAA’s Men’s Basketball Ethics Committee.

“On behalf of my entire family, we are humbled and honored to serve as the stewards of the men’s basketball program at Virginia Tech,” Young said. “We are extremely grateful to President Sands and Whit for extending this opportunity to us that we will embrace with great fervor and enthusiasm. I’ve long admired Virginia Tech from afar for its principles, as well as for the ability of its athletic programs to consistently win with integrity. I can’t wait to meet our student-athletes, support staff and fans as we prepare to get to work in Blacksburg.”

Young compiled a 299-244 (.551) overall record at Wofford and earned Southern Conference Coach of the Year honors four times (2010, 2014,

2015 and 2019). Under his guidance, the Terriers registered an impressive list of non-conference wins over the likes of Auburn, Cincinnati, Clemson, Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina State, Purdue, Seton Hall, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, Xavier and Wake Forest. Arguably the most compelling non-conference victory of his tenure at Wofford came on Dec. 20, 2017 when the Terriers faced No. 5 North Carolina at the Dean Smith Center in Chapel Hill, N.C. and registered a 79-75 victory over head coach Roy Williams and the Tar Heels.

Prior to assuming the head coaching reins for the Terriers in 2002-03, Young was an assistant coach to current Wofford athletics director Richard Johnson. Young came to Wofford after serving as a graduate assistant for one year under Oliver Purnell at Radford University.

A 1986 graduate of Emory & Henry College, he was a four-year letterman in basketball for coach Bob Johnson and the team captain his junior and senior seasons. He credits Johnson for having a major influence on his playing and coaching careers.

Upon his graduation, Young became a full-time assistant coach for two years at Emory & Henry before moving on to Radford. Another mentor in his coaching philosophies is Fletcher Arritt, longtime coach of Fork Union (Va.) Military Academy. Young played one season for him before attending Emory and Henry. In the summer of 2015, Young was inducted into the Emory & Henry College Sports Hall of Fame, as well as the Radford High School Hall of Fame.

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