Lucy Young’s mark on more than building

Published 11:29 pm Saturday, May 15, 2010

From the side door to the Warren Central girls athletic fieldhouse, the school’s softball field comes easily into view.

But it wasn’t always this pristine, with a two-story pressbox/concession stand, covered dugouts on both sides and advertisements adorning the outfield fence. This expanse of land at one time acted as Warren Central’s baseball field without an outfield fence.

When the baseball team moved behind Beechwood Elementary, it opened the land for a softball field, but the school had no softball program. What the school did have, though, was a coach accustomed to building athletic programs from the ground up.

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Four years after arriving at the Mississippi 27 school — 33 years and a few days ago — Lucy Young started the slow-pitch program. Ten years later, she ventured into coaching boys’ soccer where she stayed for 23 seasons. She coached eight years of girls soccer — again the first girls soccer coach at the school — and began the school’s fast-pitch softball program in 2000.

She eventually gave up the soccer and handed the fast-pitch reins four years ago to Dana McGivney. October marked the end of her slow-pitch coaching days.

On Tuesday, former players, coaches from her school and those from rival schools, teachers and friends filed through the fieldhouse — for which Young is most responsible for construction — to wish the 58-year-old well in retirement.

“Warren Central is home,” Young said. “I turned 21 my first year teaching. For a girl from Morton, Mississippi, to land a job at a 5A school, it was something.”

Almost four decades later, Young’s influence on Warren Central’s athletic programs can be seen almost anywhere on campus. The fieldhouse that opens onto the softball field is named in her honor. Each time a girl athlete takes the field or court, she should think of Coach Young.

Girls athletics as we see them today are nothing like what Young encountered when she arrived. She blazed a trail not only for Warren Central athletes but for those statewide.

WC without Lucy Young is the Kentucky Derby without Mint Juleps. Almost 38 years in teaching and coaching is enough.

No matter what Young does in retirement — she has a few ideas — she will be successful and have a positive impact on everyone who meets her.

Sean P. Murphy is web editor. He can be reached at