When the Little Elm football team stepped onto the practice field for its first day of fall practice on Aug. 9, newly minted athletic director Michael Young didn’t have a whistle around his neck. That is because he had to tend to other duties.
It was a different feeling for Young. For each of the previous 26 seasons, he coached football, including the last 16 as the head coach at Lake Dallas. But he was ready for a change. He said that he enjoyed his time coaching football. Some of the greatest moments of his life were spent watching film with his coaching staff and players and helping to lead the Falcons to 12 playoff appearances.
But citing family reasons, he realized that it was time to hang up the whistle.
“Everybody has asked me about that,” he said. “But to be honest, I was so busy here I think that it helped. If I was retired and didn’t have anything to go on, it would have been a little more difficult. As busy as I was here, I didn’t miss it.”
What Young missed during his 26 years of coaching high school football was the time that he had to spend away from his family. Sure, his new job keeps him busy. But, it also affords him more weekends with his family. Two weeks ago, he and his kids spent two days dove hunting.
“I hadn’t done dove hunting in the 26 years since I got into coaching football,” he said.
But that’s not to say that he doesn’t have to put in countless hours behind a desk to fulfill his duties as an athletic director – not just for Little Elm high school, but for two middle schools.
Young is constantly evaluating coaches and other district employees, filling out paperwork and working with contractors on construction projects. A construction crew is currently working on an indoor multi-purpose facility that is scheduled to be completed in mid-2022.
The good thing for Young is that he has plenty of people to lean on for advice when it comes to questions about administrative procedures. He calls longtime Lake Dallas athletic director Scott Head once a week to catch up and also talk about any issues that arise and solutions for those problems.
Lake Dallas is putting the finishing touches on an indoor all-purpose facility of its own, which is scheduled for completion later this year.
“He’s always glad to help,” Young said of Head. “I learned a lot from him about a lot of things, more just so about how to handle coaches, and he was always really positive. He was easy to come up to about any advice. He was always good about that.”
Young was one of three new hires that Little Elm made this summer, joining newly minted head volleyball coach Veronica Mendez and first-year head softball coach Brent Achorn. The Lobos also completed their first season as a wrestling program last year, with assistant football coach Mike McBride handling the head coaching duties.
Personnel changes and all, Young has been appreciative of all the support that he has received from all of the coaches, who he said have made for a rather seamless transition from a football coach to an athletic director.
“It’s been easy,” Young said. “They really have a great group of coaches here that I’ve really been impressed with, are knowledgeable and great with the kids. They’ve been great with me. They’ve been great with me whenever I need anything. They’re smart and know what they’re doing and are great at running their own programs. I think it’s best sometimes to help them out wherever it is best needed and for them to be the best that they can be. They’ve helped me to adjust.”
Young said his new job is “stressful,” but nowhere near as that of coaching a high school football game on a Friday night. But, his new job still allows him to chat sports with coaches and student-athletes. And Young said that Little Elm reminds him of Lake Dallas in so many ways.
“These two communities have been an awful lot alike for a long time,” he said. “When I started coaching at Lake Dallas 26 years ago, they were our big rival with us and Frisco and Little Elm. Frisco has changed a lot because they have all of these different schools. It doesn’t seem the same. Little Elm has gotten a lot bigger, but it’s still kind of the same because they’re a one-high school kind of town. It seems like a small community. Lake Dallas, too.”