Growing up, there would hardly be a weekend that went by during high school football season when newly minted Lake Dallas head coach Jason Young wasn’t in the coach’s office at Derby High School (Kan.) breaking down film with his legendary coaching father, Tom.
Tom coached high school football for 44 seasons, winning state titles at Hanover, Wellington and Derby and had a 343-111 record. He ranks second behind Silver Lake coach C.J. Hamilton, who has 438 wins, in number of career wins in Kansas high school football history.
“I learned a lot,” Jason said. “Growing up with that day in and day out, I learned about the details and how detailed my dad was and how we put that into the game plan. That was a big part of his success. It was just how detail-oriented he was.”
Not once did Jason’s mother, Sheila, turn down his request to go to work with his father.
“We were a football family,” Jason said. “It was highly encouraged.”
Jason played linebacker for Derby. His older brother, John, who is now working as an anesthesiologist, played quarterback for the Panthers.
“I always gave him a hard time, but he was a heck of a football player,” Jason said.
Jason was a heck of a football player, too.
Jason played football at Butler Community College, where he was a team captain, before completing his collegiate career at UTEP. He was nominated for the Blue Gray All-Star Game in 1997 following his senior season with the Miners.
These days, Jason is taking the lessons that he learned from his father and applying them as a coach.
Young has served on the Lake Dallas coaching staff for the past 10 years. In that time, he helped coach the Falcons to the Class 5A Division II state semifinals in 2015 as well as additional playoff appearances in 2012, 2014, 2017 and 2018. His oversight of the defensive unit extends across all football teams, from the middle school level to varsity football.
Prior to his arrival at Lake Dallas, Young coached and taught for 10 years across the collegiate level. He worked with Division I student-athletes as a member of the Oklahoma State University coaching staff. At the high school level, he brings additional experience as a coach and teacher at Spring Westfield and Klein Oak.
Young is counting on that experience to prepare him for the biggest challenge of his coaching career.
On June 28, Michael Young announced that he was leaving Lake Dallas after 16 years as head football coach to become the athletic director at Little Elm ISD.
Three days later on July 1, the Lake Dallas ISD Board of Trustees unanimously approved to elevate Jason Young from defensive coordinator to head coach.
Jason called the week of Michael Young’s departure “stressful,” with Michael noting all of the personal relationships that he had built with the coaching staff in his nearly two decades at Lake Dallas. Jason called himself a good friend of Michael.
However, Jason knew that he had a new job and more responsibilities awaiting him. He said that he was ecstatic to finally call himself a head coach.
“It’s absolutely a dream come true,” he said. “This is one of the main goals that I wanted to do in my life.”
Jason inherits a Lake Dallas team that finished last year with a record of 1-8 and missed the playoffs for the second straight year. However, it wasn’t for a lacking of trying. The Falcons were a young squad with several players, including several freshmen and sophomores, being thrown into the fire to gain experience for a team that needed to added depth at several spots.
Playing in a district as talented as 7-5A Div. II didn’t make the going easier for Lake Dallas. However, the Falcons have a lot of talent returning this season, including senior quarterback Brendan Sorsby, senior running back Drew McKinney, sophomore tailback Aundre Minnifield, and junior wide receivers Micaiah Brooks and Evan Weinberg.
"We've got a really good chance,” Jason said. “The kids have had an amazing offseason. They've worked their tails off. They got a little chip on their shoulders. It was definitely an eye-opener. Last year, we started a lot of young kids and we were in a tough district. But, they've worked really hard. I expect some really good things this next season."
Jason wants to build off the tradition that he inherited from Michael Young, who led the Falcons to 12 playoff appearances.
He will look to pick off where his predecessor left off. And, if needed, Jason can look to his father for guidance.
When Tom was hired as the head coach at McPherson (Kan.) in 2006, the Bullpups were strictly considered a basketball school. From 1989-2005, the football program was 46-107 with three winning seasons.
Young was 75-22 with nine winning seasons and nine playoff appearances.
Jason is eager to follow in his dad’s footsteps and ready to lead a Lake Dallas program that has enjoyed plenty of success over the years.
"I always tried to be like him," Jason said. "I've been pursuing this dream for a long time. It finally worked out for me. It's really cool."