One week before the start of the 2016 high school football season, Scott Young is out as head coach at Independence High.
Young, 44, said he met with Independence school officials early Friday afternoon and was told he was relieved immediately of his coaching duties. Young said he still had the option to remain as a teacher.
“It’s the most shocking thing I’ve ever had happen to me, and it’s the biggest curveball I’ve ever had in my life,” Young said. “They didn’t give me a reason at all.”
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools officials and Independence High officials didn’t return calls from the Observer.
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Before arriving at Independence, Young built an N.C. 3A football powerhouse at West Rowan High School in Mount Ulla, a small town about 50 miles northwest of uptown Charlotte. In 17 seasons at West Rowan, Young’s teams were 172-54 with nine conference championships and four N.C. western regional championships. His team won three state titles in a row from 2008-10.
In 2015, Young had open heart surgery, later resigning his football job at West Rowan. He was on a heart transplant list.
Last May, Independence hired Young to replace Justin Hardin, who left to become defensive coordinator at Charlotte Latin. School officials and Young told the Observer that he had been cleared by doctors to return to coaching. A few weeks after he was hired, Young had a successful heart transplant, but spent nearly two months in the hospital, missing much of the Patriots’ off-season workouts.
Young said he returned to Independence full time on July 15. Last Sunday, Young’s father, Larry, died at 70 years old after a long battle with a lung disease.
“I missed work Monday, but was at work Tuesday and at practice Wednesday and we had pictures Thursday,” Young said. “We had committed to the community. This affects my entire family.”
Young said his family was planning to buy a house in Mint Hill.
His wife, Dianne, will start as a teacher at a local elementary school, Clear Creek, where his youngest son, Brody, will attend. His daughter, Ally, is a rising freshman on Independence’s volleyball team. The eldest son, Bryant, is a rising junior on the Patriots’ football team.
Independence is scheduled to kick off the season Friday at S.C. 4A power Dutch Fork High in Irmo, near Columbia. The team is coached by Tom Knotts, who helped lead the Patriots to seven straight N.C. state championships from 2000-06. During the Knotts’ era, the Patriots were 148-7 -- once embarking on a 109-game win streak -- and made 10 straight appearances in the N.C. 4A or N.C. 4AA Western Regional championship game.
Since Knotts left in 2009, Independence is 51-25. The Patriots have now had four coaches since the start of the 2010 season. They haven’t been past the second round of the playoffs since the 2009 season.
Young had hoped to bring return stability and winning results at Independence.
“I can remain as a teacher,” he said, “but I have no idea. I thought things were progressing nicely. We had a parent meeting Sunday night, the night my dad passed, and everything was good. I was really pleased with how it was progressing since I got out there. I love the boys and I love the team.”