By Eric Butler: PNT correspondent
Greg Young is certainly one coach who believes that the Eastern New Mexico University men’s basketball team can successfully compete in the Lone Star Conference.
If not, the current head coach at Jacksonville (Texas) Junior College wouldn’t have been quite as enticed to enter the race to be the Greyhounds’ new leader.
As it is, as he related to a small group in Portales on Monday, Young has always been a Lone Star fan and now wants to be part of the head coaching fraternity within that conference.
“I’m at the point in my career where we’d love to make this our home,” Young said. “I’ve always wanted to coach in the Lone Star Conference. While others were watching the Southwest Conference in the late 1960s and early 1970s, I was watching Lone Star games.
“I would be humbled to be able to coach in it,” he added.
Actually, Young has already coached in the Lone Star Conference — back when he was an assistant to Earl Diddle for the ENMU men’s team from 1991 to 1994.
After leaving Portales, Young’s coaching trek took him to Colorado where he became head man at Lamar Community College. Moving to Texas, Young took over the reins at Hill College in Hillsboro, Texas, before becoming an assistant at Texas State University in San Marcos.
For the last four years, he’s been the head coach at Jacksonville JC. For the season that just ended, Young’s Jaguars finished 22-10 while employing a fast-paced offensive attack that averaged 89.5 points a game.
Young was the third of three finalists for the ‘Hounds head coaching position to come to campus to meet with players and other interested parties. ENMU finished 4-23 in 2008-09 and didn’t win any of its 12 Lone Star Conference games.
After meeting with players for about an hour-and-a-half earlier in the day, Young related how he kept tabs on Eastern while concentrating on his duties with Jacksonville.
“I’m not looking for my first place to be a head coach,” Young said. “This is a special place for me and I kind of bristle when I see things aren’t going well.”
With his wife Nicole as part of the audience at the Campus Union Building, Young pointed out his connections with New Mexico that currently exist even in Jacksonville, located in east Texas south of Tyler.
One of his assistant coaches is former Portales player Cinco Boone while Young also had the services of two New Mexico Class 5A all-state first-teamers, Clovis’ Bryce Hill and Los Lunas’ Matt Billups, for the season that just ended.
Asked if it was possible for some of his current players — should he get the ENMU job — to follow him, particularly in the case of Hill, Young said it was, although he added he “didn’t want to be premature.”
Young said that he would be open to transfers from junior colleges and other four-year colleges. He said that his primary recruiting philosophy would be to concentrate on high school players.
“I think you’ve got to have a mix, but you’ve got to recruit from in-state first,” Young said. “The only way to keep retention is you’ve got to have those high school kids to a certain extent.
“You can’t have all junior college players,” he added. “I don’t think that’s a formula for success.”
Richard Davis of St. Joseph’s University, a Division II school in Indiana, and Andrew Helton of Southern Alabama.