MORGANTOWN - Donnie Young, who has been in West Virginia University's Department of Intercollegiate Athletic for nearly a half century, is going to retire June 30.
As an outstanding football player, assistant coach and administrator, the widely known and respected Kanawha Valley native has served 46 years at WVU with class and distinction.
"I have really enjoyed my years here very much," Young said. "I thought about retiring a couple times earlier, but they talked me out of it."
Young, popular and well-liked, was an all-South Conference defensive guard. He came here first in 1961 after graduation from Clendenin High School. He earned letters in 1962-63-64 after playing a year on the freshman team.
He received a bachelor's degree in Physical Education and Safety, then later earned a master's degree.
Young received the Ira Errett Rodgers Award and the Louis D. Mesiel Award in 1968.
In 1988 the Morgantown Touchdown Club gave him the Proficiency Award.
He posted a 19-6-1 record as head football coach at Salem College in 1967-68-69.
Then he returned to WVU in 1970 as an assistant to the legendary Bobby Bowden.
Young has been at the university ever since.
He served as a coach and recruiter under Frank Cignetti (1976-79) and Hall of Famer Don Nehlen (1980-2000).
He became an administrator under head coach Rich Rodriguez from 2001-2007 and filled the same role under Bill Stewart from 2008-10.
Young was listed as football program coordinator under Dana Holgorsen during 2011 and part of 2012.
Don Nehlen, West Virginia's winningest head football coach in history, paid tall tribute to Young who spent all 21 years with the Hall of Famer as an assistant and recruiting coordinator.
"I can't say enough good things about Donnie," Nehlen said from his Florida home. "That was the best decision I ever made to decided to keep him.
"When I came here, I told Donnie 'You don't know me and I don't know you. Why don't you be recruiting coordinator for about two months and then I'll make my decision?'"
Young gladly agreed. He said, "It's fine with me."
"So one dark night Donnie was driving and I was looking around on a recruiting trip in the southern part of the state," Nehlen recalled. Donnie said, 'Coach do I have a job?' I told him, 'Donnie, as long as I have a job, you've got one.'"
Nehlen noted that Young was the kind of guy who was awfully hard to get upset. He had a way about him. He never made an emotional decision.
"Donnie really had a tremendous eye for talent," Nehlen stated. "We'd look at a recruit on filmand then I had to make the decision. But Donnie Young was always my common denominator.