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Class of 2002 presentation adds to Young’s ‘field day’

After 38 years of coaching high school football — half of that at Bearden — Bill Young had a “field day” at BHS Friday, Sept. 14.

Honored for winning district championships and 200-plus career wins — many of those during 18 years as Bulldogs head coach, — Young was brought to tears as Bearden Stadium was renamed “Bill Young Field” prior to the BHS-Farragut game Friday.

Dr. Larry Fields, pastor of Central Baptist Church of Bearden, addressed thousands during the pre-game field ceremony, capped by unveiling the “Bill Young Field” sign above the scoreboard.

“Being a father of one of the young men who played under coach Young, I’m thankful that this is a man who not only taught them to be good football players, but to be good young men, good husbands, good fathers, supporting their community and supporting their coaches,” Fields said.

A handful of former players from the Class of 2002, who joined Young to end their BHS careers with three straight wins against Farragut, honored their former coach with a plaque remembering the streak’s most famous game.

Bulldog quarterback Andy Crook, who led a late regulation rally to tie FHS in 2001 before claiming a 49-42 double-overtime victory, presented the plaque exalting that game during a reception for Young in the BHS cafeteria.

“Everybody knows here how much coach affected so many people’s lives,” Crook said. “And we appreciate it so much. … We wanted to give him a plaque from the Class of 2002, it’s from the Farragut game, which is a perfect night to give him this. It’s the best high school football game I’ve ever played in in my life.

“The plaque is inscribed: Bill Young, Head Coach Bearden High School, Bearden 49 Farragut 42, Great Rivalry, Great Victory, Go Coach.”

“We really, really appreciate everything you did for us, coach.”

Shortly after the field dedication, Young said, “It’s too much to really comprehend. It’s good to see the players tonight, and having the field named in my honor is really special for me ... it makes you wish you’d work harder.”

Visibly emotional as the sign was unveiled, Young added, “It’s unbelievable, a really nice thing. I appreciated Mr. [Lynn] Hill [principal] and everybody for doing that. Knowing that I coached along with [former BHS head coaches] Jim Smelcher and Ermel Howard … makes me feel even more humbled and undeserving because of the great guys that coached here besides me.”

Young received a plaque of recognition on behalf of BHS and Knox County Board of Education just prior to the unveiling.


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