By Marty Gordon
Bob Young was a great educator who served as a mentor to lots of students in the Radford city school system. Bob Young was also a college basketball fan who took his son to several Virginia Tech games at Cassell Coliseum. That son would later become the head coach of the Hokies.
I grew close to Bob after his stint as a principal in the school system. I was a young sports reporter, and he bragged about his son, who became an assistant coach at Radford University and Emory & Henry College. He told me he would be a great head coach one day.
Then last year, Bob was front row in the same Cassell Coliseum when his son, Mike Young, was introduced as the next head coach for Virginia Tech after a long, successful career at Wofford College.
I asked Mike what memories he had about being a Radford native and watching the Hokies play basketball as he grew up. Mike remembered his dad taking him to Hokie games as a youngster, sitting in the stands and cheering on the team he now leads.
Bob looked at me and said: “Mike is finally home.” Bob Young passed away earlier this week. He was 83.
The elder Young was an assistant football coach at Dublin High School for 10 years and also served as that school’s head baseball coach for a few years. He later served 20 years as the principal at Dalton Intermediate School in Radford before retiring in 1999.
Not many people, except those in the tight-knit Radford sports community, knew that Bob’s sister, Joann, was married to another sports great by the name of Norm Lineburg.
Bob stood by this sports reporter three years ago when the Radford High School boys’ basketball team faced Gate City for another chance at a state title run. It was apparent Bob felt his son should be recruiting at least one player on the floor in Gate City’s Zac Ervin.
Bob told me Mike was really high on Ervin. He joked we should call Mike and tell him what he was missing. Ervin would sign a letter of intent with Virginia Tech a month later, and I talked with Mike by phone as he was busy on the recruiting trail.
Earlier this month, Bob put his arm around me and said hello as Radford University played at the Dedmon Center.
He left a lasting impression on me and many others.