Rutgers basketball coach who led Scarlet Knights to Final Four dies at 89
PISCATAWAY - Tom Young, the former Rutgers basketball coach who led the Scarlet Knights to an undefeated regular season in 1975-76 and their only Final Four appearance, has died. He was 89.
Young died early Sunday in Virginia Beach, Virginia, son Tom Young Jr. told the university. Young had been hospitalized.
Young is the winningest coach in the history of the men's basketball program. He had a 239-117 record — .671 winning percentage — between 1973-85.
The pinnacle of his career was the 1975-76 season when the Scarlet Knights went 26-0 in the regular season and were 31-0 reaching the Final Four. They finished 31-2.
He led Rutgers to four NCAA Tournament and five National Invitation Tournament appearances.
Young was noted for teaching the center position, grooming the careers of Rutgers Hall of Famers James Bailey and Roy Hinson. He also mentored Eddie Jordan and Phil Sellers.
"He was a father figure to me throughout my entire life," Jordan said.
"I said my prayers for Tom last night," Sellers added. "He turned us boys into young men. I give Tom a lot of credit. He took all the guys that Dick Vitale recruited and took us all to the next step. He had no idea what he was getting into, but it didn't take him very long to lead us to success."
Young was born in Natrona Heights, Pennsylvania, and attended Maryland, where he starred on the basketball team. After graduating, Young went on to coach at Catholic University (1958-67), was an assistant at Maryland (1967-69), and coached American University (1969-73) before landing the job with Rutgers.
Following his 12 seasons leading the Scarlet Knights, Young became the head coach at Old Dominion (1985-91) and finished his career as an assistant with the Washington Wizards (2003-07) before retiring in 2007.
Young finished his career with a 524-328 record and was 6-6 in the NCAA tournament and 4-4 in the NIT.
Young is survived by his wife of 67 years, Nancy, two children, Tom Young Jr. and Tracy, and grandchildren.