ROCKINGHAM — In what has been a busy first week of the 2019-2020 school year in the world of Richmond Senior High School athletics, Ricky Young made the announcement that he is stepping down from several positions within the school.
Young, who has served as the head baseball coach since coming to Raider Nation as a social studies teacher in 2009-2010, will be leaving his post for an assistant principalship at Pinecrest High School.
He left the classroom and was named Richmond’s athletic director in Jan. 2014, and also fulfilled the role as an AP within the school’s administration the last five years. He said there was a “mutual interest” between himself and Pinecrest that helped lead to his decision.
Young’s announcement to head to Pinecrest makes it the second major coaching change to happen at Richmond within the last week. Earlier this month, Wendy Wallace, the winningest head coach in Lady Raider softball history, resigned her mark, but will remain at the school as an assistant principal.
“I have really enjoyed working at Richmond in all three roles that I am currently holding, but it is a very demanding position,” Young said. “The long hours and the many jobs that must be juggled are taxing mentally and physically. I had this opportunity presented at Pinecrest, so I decided the time was right to just focus on one job.
“Professionally, it has been a really great experience,” he continued. “I made some great friendships, and I have enjoyed working with the coaches on our staff. We have a great group of people and I am proud of the fact that we have given some good young coaches their first opportunities as head coaches.”
Young also noted that “Richmond is lucky to have such a caring, hard-working group” and included in that is “a very quality group of assistant coaches who work very hard and will be great head coaches one day.”
Young has been a staple in the Raiders’ dugout the last decade, as well as a key component in making the RSHS athletics department a success. He’s spent countless hours on the field and behind the scenes, doing everything from organizing fundraisers, to preparing for Raider football games, completing major projects around campus, but also serving as a role model to Richmond’s students as an administrator.
“Ricky Young is an absolute professional,” Jim Butler, RSHS’ principal, said. “He has represented Richmond Senior High School so very well during his time as a teacher, coach and athletic director.
“He has positively impacted this school and leaves it a better place,” he added. “I have the greatest respect for him as my colleague, but more importantly as a true friend.”
During his tenure as head baseball coach, Young compiled a 203-84-1 overall record, with a 78-31 mark against conference opponents. He won three conference championships, bringing in the then Southeastern Conference title during the 2013, 2014 and 2016 seasons.
Under his direction, the Raiders also won 18 or more games in eight of his 10 seasons, and reached or eclipsed the 20-win mark five times (2011-2014, and 2016). Young also set the program record for the most wins in a season with 28 victories during the 2013 campaign.
That year, the Raiders lost their season opener to Terry Sanford High School before going on a 27-game winning streak and facing off against Fuquay-Varina High School in the Eastern Regional Finals.
Young also led the Raiders to three SEC tournament championships, with two coming in consecutive seasons in 2013 and 2014, and the final coming in 2016. Richmond would also bring home four spring break tournament wins, the most recent coming in 2018 at the Seahawk Invitational in Hilton Head, S.C.
In the postseason, the Raiders made the NCHSAA 4A state playoffs all 10 years with Young as the skipper, making it to the Eastern Regional Finals three times (2012, 2013 and 2014).
The 2014 campaign was the best postseason run under Young, which saw the Raiders earn the No. 1 overall seed in the East, win the Eastern Regional Finals over Millbrook High School and finish as the 4A state runner-up to West Forsyth High School.
In four of Young’s 10 seasons, the Raiders made it to the third round or later in the playoffs. Richmond made it past the first round in all but one year.
When he was the head baseball coach at West Columbus High School prior to coming to Richmond, Young led the Vikings to a 1A state runner-up finish in 2006. In his high school coaching career, he has 388 total wins in 21 seasons.
“My best memories will be of the relationships I have made with my players,” Young shared. “That is the essence of coaching. The wins and losses will fade away but the relationships last forever. Any coach will tell you that there is nothing like getting a call or text from a former player who is excited to tell about some of life’s accomplishments.
“Those moments are when you know that you were able to make a difference and that is really what this profession is all about in the long run,” he added. “I have been fortunate to have a lot of good players and teams here and I could talk all day about how each team was important.
“This last season was very special to me. A lot of that team grew up around my house and I loved being able to watch them mature and grow into young men. It is also a great honor to be able to coach your son (Brett Young) on the high school level and I could not be prouder of the way he handled the pressure of that situation.”
Young reflected back to the team memories that stood out the most, which came during the 2012-2014 seasons. He said the goal was to win a state championship and that those teams had good opportunities all three years, but “key injuries and some bad bounces of the ball” kept them short. The 2016 team had “some of the best senior leadership I have ever had in my coaching career and we made a good run with them.”
One of the biggest projects that Young is most proud of seeing through to completion during his tenure at Richmond was the construction of the soccer complex. Working with Glenn Sims, Richmond County Schools’ maintenance supervisor, the pair made former head coach Bennie Howard’s vision a reality during the 2014-2015 school year, making it just one of three schools in the Sandhills Athletic Conference to have its own soccer stadium.
“I think it turned out very nicely,” Young said of the field. “I also want to thank Jerry Goodwin for donating the scoreboard for the soccer field to finish off the project.
“We also started some big fundraisers that the community has gotten behind and supported,” he added. “The reverse raffle has grown every year and it has become not only a good fundraiser but also an event that the community enjoys coming to every year. The BBQ sale we started last year was a huge success and I’m sure that it will only get bigger.”
Even though he’s set to start a new chapter in his educational career in Moore County, Young isn’t leaving the game of baseball. He’s stepping outside of the high school arena and will be joining C35 as the new 14U head coach.
The program was founded by current Cincinnati Reds and former University of North Carolina pitcher Rob Wooten. Based in Pinehurst, the program aims at developing youth, high school and collegiate players.
“I met with Coach Wooten and liked his vision of developing players and growing his brand,” Young noted. “It gives me an opportunity to stay involved with baseball but in a different role. I am looking forward to the challenge.”
Young said he’d be remiss if he didn’t thank his Raider family for the decade worth of support, good memories and being a strong sense of the word family.
“I would like to thank Cory Satterfield and Hal Shuler for giving me the opportunity to coach baseball here and allowing me to do things the way I wanted to do them to make us successful,” Young said. “I also would like to thank Keith McKenzie and Jim Butler for helping me grow as a professional in the AP and AD roles.
“There are countless people in the community who have been very supportive with fundraising, volunteering and many other jobs that had to be done,” he closed. “The hardest part of leaving is having to tell my players that I am leaving. I know they will continue to work hard and I will be pulling hard for all of them to be successful next spring.”
At this time, no replacements for any of Young’s positions have been announced by Richmond County Schools.