The Passing of NAIA Coaching Legend Bob Young

Bob Young was the head coach of the University of Sioux Falls when they won their first NAIA national title in 1996.

Bob Young, the NAIA Hall of Famer and catalyst behind the success of the University of Sioux Falls football program, passed away today. He was 83.

My first experience with Coach Young was when I started NAIAFOOTBALL.NET in 2002. After I introduced myself at GPAC Media Day and that I was starting to cover the NAIA as a “national” media outlet, Bob couldn’t have been nicer. He remembered I played at Dana College and even knew I was a linebacker. That was significant to me because I wasn’t very good and would hardly leave an impression on any opposing coach watching film. He spoke to me for 20 minutes about NAIA football and gave me great insight about the division from a national perspective. From day one, Bob was one of the kindest coaches I had ever been around.

Stories of his kindness came from all over the county. Other coaches, former players etc. But my favorite came from my old head coach at Dana College, Jim Krueger. Krueger was an assistant with Dana College at the time.

It was 1988 and both Dana College and the University of Sioux Falls (then Sioux Falls College) were both underfunded in their football departments. The Vikings and Cougars faced off in the regular season in Vermillion, SD at the Dakota Dome with USF winning 26-7. Dana had loaded their players onto a bus to head home and some of the coaches followed in other vehicles to take equipment back to Blair, Neb. On the way out of town, the equipment bag of footballs fell out of the back of one of the trucks driven by a Dana coach. The coach didn’t realize this happened.

Bob Young saw it from whatever vehicle he was in on his way back to Sioux Falls. They pulled over and picked up the footballs. The next part of the story is murky as I am not sure if Coach Young instructed a coach to chase down the Dana truck or if his own vehicle made the delivery. But needless to say, a representative of the Cougar football team grabbed the footballs and caught up with the Dana coaches to give them their bag before they got too far down the road.

Leo McKillip, Dana’s head coach at the time, called Coach Young the next day to thank him. Bob explained his football team didn’t have much of a budget at the time and if they would’ve lost a bag of footballs they likely would have been told they couldn’t buy any more that season. Knowing that Dana was in a similar situation with their football budget, Coach Young couldn’t stomach the thought of the Dana coaches having to beg their administrations to buy more footballs that season.

Young retired after the 2004 season. In 22 seasons as the USF coach, Young posted a 172-69-3 record with 13 conference championships.