Young resigns as coach

Posted 7/14/09

According to Young, his resignation comes following a verbal run-in with a spectator on Saturday during semifinal action at the Halos Invitational Wood Bat Tournament.

“I think it's the first time I've ever been called a son of a …

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Young resigns as coach


{gallery}07_14_09/young{/gallery} Jeff Young (right), shown here providing some words of advice to Olie Olsen, resigned as head coach of the Pioneers following Saturday's loss to the Billings Halos. Young cited family reasons following a run-in with a spectator at Saturday's game as the reason. The Pioneers were 34-12 this season under Young and begin district play in less than two weeks. Mike Jameson will serve as the interim coach for tonight's (Tuesday) home doubleheader against Riverton. Tribune photo by John Wetzel Run-in with fan ‘the final straw' for Pioneers' Coach Jeff Young resigned abruptly on Saturday as the head coach of the Powell Pioneers. The announcement comes less than two weeks before the start of district play and amid a 34-12 season that has the potential to be the team's best in recent memory

According to Young, his resignation comes following a verbal run-in with a spectator on Saturday during semifinal action at the Halos Invitational Wood Bat Tournament.

“I think it's the first time I've ever been called a son of a b___,” Young said of the encounter. “Somebody from the crowd came down and got involved and that really put me over the edge. I don't want to go into too much detail, because I still have to live here.”

Young submitted his resignation to the Powell American Legion Baseball Board, which oversees the Pioneers on Sunday. Scott Mangold, secretary for the board, said Young had cited “family reasons” as the basis for his resignation.

“For my family and my son, I thought it was best to step out of the picture and concentrate on college,” said Young, who will begin serving as an assistant coach for the Northwest College men's basketball team this year. “I have to coach a certain way and when I can't do that due to concerns about my family, it's time to remove myself from that situation. I can't lead in that sort of environment.”

Young noted his resignation wasn't based on just this one incident. The last year and a half, he notes, has been a struggle.

“Fans need to understand what they're doing to coaches,” Young said. “Support them more and don't go after them so hard. People go to one game and think they know what's going on. They don't see the kids in practice. They don't look long term to the future.”

“I've always tried to run the team from a college model,” Young explained. “The first third of the year I try to play everyone and see what they're capable of. The middle third we use kids based on improvement and that last third is for the guys that we think will help us win come district and state tournament time. That's not always popular, but people need to undestand this isn't Babe Ruth or youth ball where everyone shows up and plays.”

According to Young, the thought of resigning his position as Pioneers head coach at season's end had already crossed his mind. Saturday's incident solidified his decision and moved the timetable forward.

“It wasn't an easy decision,” said Young. “This team has a great shot at winning a state title this season. I'm sure there will be people that say I should just bow my neck and push through this, but then I'd be miserable and chances are the kids would be too. It shouldn't be about me, it's about this whole group of kids. It is best for the team to not have issues like this.”

Mike Jameson will take over as the Pioneers' coach for tonight's (Tuesday) doubleheader against Riverton.

According to Mangold, the board intended to speak with Jameson on Monday night to see if he would be able to direct the team through the remainder of the season.

“It isn't just the coaching,” Mangold noted. “There's a lot of little and big stuff behind the scenes that Jeff did for Powell baseball that now has to be done. We really appreciate what he's done. We'll talk to the kids tonight at their practice. We'll talk with Mike and see if he's able to coach the team through the remainder of the summer and we'll begin a search for a new coach immediately.”

Young announced his intent to resign to the members of the Pioneers immediately following Saturday's game against the Halos. He indicated that he'd also tried to speak with each of the players individually. Nevertheless, the decision left the team in a state of disbelief.

“I think we're in a bit of shock, or maybe a bit of awe,” said Gianluca Giarrizzo, a two-time all-state player under Young for the Pioneers. “It is really going to be hard to play without him on the third-base line.”

Giarrizzo noted Young's value to the team went beyond wins and losses.

“A lot of coaches will tell you what to do, but he really explained the why,” said Giarrizzo. “He helped us become students of the game of baseball. He's done so much for the program. It will be hard for Powell to find a coach that does as much as Coach Young did.”

“Hopefully we can all just move on, keep working hard and keep these kids playing good baseball,” said Jameson, who has assisted with the Pioneers for four summers. “I've really appreciated what Jeff has done. I hope the team can continue and that we can take care of business.”

In addition to tonight's (Tuesday) doubleheader, the Pioneers play a pair of games in Cody on Wednesday night before wrapping up the regular season with a home doubleheader against Sheridan on Saturday.

“I'm proud of the kids that went through the program and I wouldn't change a thing that I've done,” Young said. “I know I have a lot of supporters out there, because the support that people and businesses around town give to this program has been wonderful. It's just the few that make it really hard.”

“You won't see me coach at this level again,” Young said. “I'll either coach college or I simply won't coach. I don't want to go through this anymore.”