The Robert Young era recently came to an end for the Logan High School’s highly successful track and volleyball teams, as he is retiring from teaching and coaching at the end of the school year.
Young said he announced his imminent retirement to his track and field athletes about two weeks before the season ended.
“I gathered them all together, and they probably thought they were in trouble,” he said, chuckling. “I think some of them were surprised. It got pretty emotional.”
He informed volleyball players who weren’t participating in track about his decision a week later.
“It just felt like the right time (to retire) because there aren’t any seniors coming up next year,” he said, “though the sophomores wanted me to stay two more years and the freshmen wanted me to stay three more. But I just can’t keep going.”
Young, who also is a science teacher, holds an enable resume in his 38 years of coaching, including his last 10 at Logan.
His Lady Longhorns track teams won three state championships, and the Logan boys track squads won two. In all, Logan won 50 individual state titles. His boys and girls teams each finished third at the state meet earlier this month.
Just a few months ago, Young was inducted into the New Mexico High School Track and Cross-Country Coaches Association’s Hall of Fame.
In volleyball, Young guided his Lady Longhorns to three straight state championships at one point, including the state semifinals last season. He amassed more than 400 victories on the volleyball court during coaching stints that included included Tucumcari, San Jon, Jal and Amherst, Texas.
Asked about his sports highlights at Logan, Young cited the state championships by the boys track team won in 2015 and 2016.
“To have those boys come back (in 2016) with a target on their back and win it again was really nice,” he said.
He mentioned the surprise title the girls track team won in 2017.
“I honestly didn’t think we were going to win it,” Young said. “I thought we might be top three, but they went out there, were tough and performed well.”
Another highlight was his first volleyball championship at Logan in 2017. He also mentioned beating previously undefeated Melrose in the Class 1A championship match for the Lady Longhorns’ third straight title in 2019.
“That was pretty sweet,” he said.
Speaking of Melrose, the Buffs’ volleyball and track coach, Casey Jackson, has experienced quite a few district and state-tournament clashes against Young’s teams in recent years.
“He knows his stuff, and his teams are always well-polished and disciplined,” Jackson said. “He’s hard to beat, for sure.
“We always had a rivalry there, but there never was any bad feelings toward each other,” he added. “We could always sit down in a meeting and talk volleyball and track, and be fine.”
Unlike many coaches, Young seldom shouted during games. He said his more soft-spoken approach was something that came naturally.
“That’s the way I’ve always coached,” he said. “It seemed to fit me. I’ve tried the other way, and it just didn’t feel right, and I felt like I lost control of things. I do get onto (the athletes) in practices. But I don’t really do that in the games.”
Jackson said Young had the ability to communicate with his athletes.
“I think he just has the respect of his kids,” Jackson said. “They trust him. He’s going to get you where you need to go.”
After the school year ends, Young said he wants to travel more with his wife Carol, especially to see his adult sons. He wants to work on his golf game, and he mentioned he needs to do some renovations on his property.
“I’m pretty healthy, and I’m ready to do some other things,” he said.
Young said Glynna Strand, who also is girls basketball coach, will take over as volleyball coach. Beach also will coach girls track.
Dwayne Roberts, who also is football coach, will guide the boys track team. Robert was an assistant coach during the Longhorns’ state track titles in 2015 and 2016.
Young said he would attend an occasional Logan volleyball match or track meet, but he was mindful of not doing it too much and detracting from his successors’ work.