Micah Young knew it was now or never.
After the West Geauga Wolverines elected to not renew Jim Fisher’s contract, Young, 23, put his name in the running to become the new boys’ basketball coach for his alma matter.
“If someone else gets it and offered me a varsity assistant position here I would have considered it,” he said. “But obviously I wanted to keep coaching and coach at West Geauga. It’s the school I went to and this is the community I’ve been in for years now.”
After two interviews including a zoom meeting with a handful of parents, athletic director Brandon Stewart phoned Young during a basketball camp he was conducting at Akron St. Vincent-St. Mary’s High School on May 30 to personally give him the good news.
“I’ll get West Geauga right or I’ll die trying,” he said. “There’s no other option for me. Failure happens but I don’t want to accept it and want to do everything I can to make it right here and will put all of my effort into it.”
Despite relocating to South Russell before his freshman year, West Geauga has always been home for the 2017 graduate.
Basketball was always a passion for the Wilmington, NC native.
He said it was hard to not love basketball in Wilmington which is the hometown of Michael Jordan and where he played high school basketball.
“I always had a ball in my hand whether it was basketball or football which were always my two favorite sports,” he said. “I fell in love with basketball once I stopped growing as a football player. I didn’t get thick like some of these guys get. I just worked on my skill every day back when I was young. I’d shoot a thousand shots a day and ball-handle every single day.”
Young’s family moved to Northeast Ohio when his father accepted a new job in the area.
According to Young, he quickly found his footing in the West Geauga school district because of his involvement in athletics.
“When you play a sport that helps because you get to know the guys playing that sport,” he said. “Maybe people disagree but I think athletics are a great tool. For one you have to play as a team and you have to know the people you’re playing next to and in life that’s what it’s like too. It’s like a team with everything you do.”
Young made the Wolverines’ varsity team his freshman season and earned quality minutes because they had just one returning starter from the previous season.
His first two years with West Geauga saw the team go 10-37.
Following his sophomore campaign, then-Coach John Cardiero’s contract was not renewed and West Geauga alum Jeff Javorek was brought in to re-shape the program.
Young explained the then-new Wolverines’ coach brought an immediate change to the program and was an inspiration in helping him shape his own coaching identity.
“He understood you have to get the youth program involved right away and have to get the younger kids coming to our games and then have to get the alumni involved and he did a great job of doing that,” Young noted.
After he graduated, Young attended Lakeland Community College when he was lured back into the game after a call from Wolverines’ alum Shane Kline-Ruminski, a member of the back-to-back state championship teams in 1989 and 1990.
Kline-Ruminski offered Young a coaching job at The National Basketball Academy.
Young always envisioned himself being a coach but he just didn’t think it would be so soon.
He spent a year coaching AAU teams and then became the freshman coach for his alma matter.
Despite only coaching the freshman, Young spent a lot of time watching the varsity team become a powerhouse with standout forward Josh Irwin leading them to the district finals in 2019.
“I learned so much in that time,” he said. “Those were awesome years and in 2019 we ended up going 19-7 counting all the playoff wins. I don’t even know the last time we won 19 games before that.”
He served as the freshman coach for two seasons and transferred to Kent State University to pursue a degree in physical education and health.
Prior to the 2021 season, Javorek’s contract was not renewed then Irwin transferred to play basketball at the International Sports Academy for his senior season so Young took the junior varsity coaching position at Berkshire.
After Javorek’s replacement was one-and-done, Fisher was soon hired as the new coach and enticed Young to come back to his old stomping grounds by making him an assistant coach.
“I wanted to come back to West Geauga,” Young explained. “That’s where all my roots were. I didn’t have any roots at Berkshire. I enjoyed the one-year there and coached the junior varsity team. We went 11-4 and the kids at Berkshire will be successful this year for sure.”
The Wolverines continued to scuffle and posted a 4-17 record.
It was a far cry from the glory days Young experienced when he served as Javorek’s freshman coach.
During all of this Young still coached at TNBA. He said coaching for that organization was critical in his development.
“There are so many good basketball minds in that organization and company and me just having that option just to be around those guys every day was unbelievable because I learned so much,” he said. “Hearing those guys talk about hey let’s do this here and let’s do this here was invaluable.”
After he graduated from Kent State this past spring, Young felt it was finally his time to take over the helm and return West Geauga to its rightful glory.
The last two Wolverines’ alumni to serve as the head basketball coach of the boys’ team before Young and they were Javorek and Chad Frazier.
Both coaches own the two best winning percentages during their coaching tenures at West Geauga.
Young is hopeful that he can continue that trend and the ball is in his court.
“I love all of the kids here. I’ve known the kids here since our triple-threat camp,” Young said. “I’ve coached some of these kids when I was in high school. I don’t want to let the community down and want to get them back to the glory days. We have the potential to do so and have a lot of talent and have a lot of kids that are willing to work.”