Warren Central’s Young blazed trails in soccer, softball

Published 8:00 am Wednesday, August 29, 2018

In the 1970s, Lucy Young helped get Warren Central’s boys’ soccer program off the ground. In the 1980s she did the same with the girls’ soccer team, and in the 1990s it was fast-pitch softball.

Young has always been on the ground floor of sports in Mississippi, but she’s about to be elevated to a much loftier place.

Young, who coached five different sports — three of them as start-up programs — in a 37-year career at Warren Central, will be part of the Class of 2018 of the Vicksburg Warren School District Athletic Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony is Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Vicksburg Convention Center. Tickets are $20 and are available at the door or in advance at the VWSD athletic office on Mission 66.

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Joining Young in the Hall are Vicksburg High track standout Monique Varnado; VHS football coach Houston Markham, Jr.; and VHS football stars Sylvester Stamps and Michael Dottorey.

“Definitely, it’s a wonderful honor to receive on any level,” Young said. “But especially when the recognition comes from your own school system and your peers, and they appreciate what you’ve done, it’s even more wonderful.”

Young came to Warren Central in 1973 as a 21-year-old fresh out of Mississippi State University. Her first coaching job was with the tennis team, but she soon was tasked with building a boys’ soccer program from scratch.

A couple of years later, she became the head coach of WC’s slow-pitch softball team.

“I was young and I was energetic. Those things just came to me, and given the opportunity I just decided I was going to get busy and see if I could figure them out,” Young said. “A lot of it was learning by doing. We were fortunate in the first year of the soccer program to have a foreign exchange student, and I learned a lot from him.”

Young figured it out pretty well. She led the boys’ soccer team for more than 20 years and was named the Mississippi Association of Coaches Coach of the Year, and the National High School Athletic Association Region 5 Coach of the Year twice each.

In slow-pitch softball, she won 713 games in nearly 30 seasons and led the Lady Vikes to 16 division championships and the North State championship in 2000.

Late in her career she became the first coach of Warren Central’s fast-pitch softball team and won 144 games and four division titles between 1999 and 2005.

Young said she was most proud of taking programs in their infancy and putting them on a solid enough footing to give young people opportunities to participate in activities they might otherwise miss out on.

“It was a wonderful opportunity that was entrusted to me, and to have laid the foundation for those programs is something I’m proud of,” Young said. “That has been the thing I’ve enjoyed the most. Even as I stepped away, I could see how those sports were going to grow. We had plenty of players with the ability and desire, but the opportunities were not there.”

Besides her on-field accomplishments, Young was an outspoken advocate for women’s sports in Mississippi and has been involved with Area 10 Special Olympics since the 1980s. She helped start both a special education physical education class and the Special Prom — a prom for special education students — when she was a teacher. The Special Prom has been a staple event every April for the past 25 years.

Young was inducted to the East Central Community College Athletic Hall of Fame in 2005 and the Mississippi Association of Coaches Hall of Fame in 2012. Warren Central’s softball field was named in her honor in 2008. She’s also received numerous awards for service and volunteerism.

Despite having all of those accolades on her resumé, Young said adding the VWSD Hall of Fame induction is treasured.

“It never gets old. It just takes you by surprise when you get that phone call or letter and see how wonderful it is, as time goes by and you get to enjoy the things that have been accomplished,” she said. “You don’t get to awards like this by yourself. You are carried there by all of these players. I never scored a goal or crossed home plate. I was just the vehicle to teach and instruct. It was the players and parents that did the leg work.”

The Vicksburg Warren School District Athletic Hall of Fame induction ceremony is Thursday at 6 p.m. at the Vicksburg Convention Center. Tickets are $20 and are available at the VWSD athletic office on Mission 66. For more information, call the VWSD athletic office at 601-631-2822.

VWSD Hall of Fame inductees
Class of 2016

Tony Smith (WC football)
Carl Blue (WC football)
Sean Brewer (WC football)
Cynthia Hall (VHS basketball)
Barry Hassell (Vicksburg tennis)
Class of 2017
Michael Phelps (VHS basketball)
Taylor Tankersley (WC baseball)
Robert Morgan (WC football)
Eddie Burns (Vicksburg football)
George Nasif (VHS foootball)
Mary Logue (WC basketball)
Jackie Pettway (WC softball)
Class of 2018
Lucy Young (WC softball, soccer)
Houston Markham (VHS football)
Michael Dottorey (VHS football)
Sylvester Stamps (VHS football)
Monique Varnado (VHS track)

About Ernest Bowker

Ernest Bowker is The Vicksburg Post's sports editor. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post's sports staff since 1998, making him one of the longest-tenured reporters in the paper's 140-year history. The New Jersey native is a graduate of LSU. In his career, he has won more than 50 awards from the Mississippi Press Association and Associated Press for his coverage of local sports in Vicksburg.

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