YUKON — After 45 years in football, Bill Young is finally going to be a head coach.
The 67-year-old Young, who has been a defensive coordinator at seven Division I programs, is set to become the new coach at Yukon High School, pending school board approval at the May 5 meeting.
“This has been in the works for about 10 days,” Yukon athletic director David Fisher told The Oklahoman on Monday. “Bill has put players in the NFL, he’s been a part of 20 bowl games, coached in the NFL, at the Division I and high school levels.
“In 20 years of hiring coaches, I can tell you that you don’t run into guys of that caliber very often and have the opportunity to hire them.”
Young worked as Oklahoma State’s defensive coordinator from 2009-12, and spent one month at the University of Wyoming last fall in a quality control-type position.
“I had several opportunities to move off and go to some other colleges, but nothing that just really lit me up,” said Young, who contacted Fisher to express his interest in the opening. “To be honest with you, I just miss football.
“I can remember back to when I coached at Carl Albert and Putnam City West. And I’ve told everybody I’ve ever discussed that with that I’ve never enjoyed coaching as much as I did when I was coaching in high school.”
The idea of retirement just didn’t suit Young.
“I don’t golf or fish or hunt,” Young said. “I’m just a football coach.
“I’ve got a burning desire to coach. I feel like I have a little bit — not a lot, but a little bit — to offer. I’ve been really fortunate to be some great places and around some great people, and I think I’ve learned a lot of football. I feel I have to share that, and I want to do that.”
In addition to working as the defensive coordinator at all three of Oklahoma’s Division I programs — Tulsa in the 1980s, Oklahoma in the 1990s and OSU in 2008-12 — Young has held the same position at Ohio State, Southern Cal, Kansas and Miami.
He has coached in bowl games in five different decades, from the 1976 Tangerine Bowl to the Heart of Dallas Bowl in January 2013. And he spent the 2001 season in the NFL with the Detroit Lions.
Coincidentally, one of the jobs that was an early springboard in his career came as the defensive coordinator for a man well-loved in Yukon — Mike Little.
Young worked as Little’s defensive coordinator at PC West from 1971-75 before taking his first full-time college job at OSU in 1976. Little went on to coach PC West to a state title, before moving on to Putnam City North, then Yukon in the early 1990s.
Little turned an 0-10 team into a 10-2 team in his first season and laid the groundwork for the 1997 Miller team that reached the state finals.
Young replaces Todd Wilson, who left to become the head coach at Cleveland High School earlier this month. Wilson led Yukon to the playoffs the last five seasons.
Many of Young’s fellow coaches often said he deserved an opportunity to be a college head coach, but it never materialized.
“Being a coordinator at the major-college level is the same as being a head coach, just on one side of the ball,” Fisher said. “Bill knows how to manage a staff and oversee his players and do all the things a head coach has to do.
“And think about all the coaches across the country that he’s worked with or for, and all the great things he can take from those philosophies and put into our program here.
“It’s going to be great for our players, whether it’s preparing them for the college level or growing them as young men. It’s going to be great for our coaches to work for a coach of Bill Young’s caliber. There’s nothing more exciting than knowing Bill Young is going to be the next coach of the Yukon Millers.”