Jamie and Jason Young were living embodiments of what it meant to be a kid in the Hoosier State. Whether it was on the hoop down the street or at the park, the brothers spent countless afternoons and evenings playing against one another.
The Youngs’ shared passion for basketball would take them on journeys that would test their enthusiasm for Dr. James Naismith’s creation and introduce them to the sport’s headliners.
Jason sits courtside at a recent Mt. Vernon boys basketball practice wearing a Boston Celtics long sleeve T-shirt and a weary expression. A few feet away sleeps his five-year-old son, Maverick, who is unable to stave off the same fatigue shared by his father, an MV varsity assistant.
The two recently traveled to Chicago to see the Celtics take on the Bulls. Before the game, Maverick worked on his jump shot with Uncle Jamie, an assistant coach with the Celtics.
“He thinks he’s pretty good,” said a smiling Jason, knowing full well where his son’s confidence comes from.
A short time later, Steve Lynch reclines back in his office chair and reflects on his own basketball voyage, one that’s seen him coach at the high school ranks and two different levels in college.
“There are a lot of guys that talk about getting into the business, what you have to do to get into the business,” commented the seventh-year MV coach. “It’s always funny when you’re the young guy. You don’t know if you believe all the stories.”
When Ed Schilling arrived in Logansport, a northwestern Indiana town about an hour northeast of Lafayette, he’d already enjoyed a successful basketball career.
A Lebanon High School graduate, Schilling went on to play at Miami University (Ohio), where he was a four year-starter at point guard for the RedHawks (then the Redskins), teaming with future five-time NBA champion shooting guard Ron Harper to lead the program to two NCAA tournament berths. Schilling broke the Mid-American Conference single-game assist mark in addition to setting Miami’s single game, season and career assists records during his tenure.
Hired by Western Boone High School not long after his graduation from Miami, Schilling spent three years with the Stars, breaking the school record for single-season wins in his final go-around.
Schilling moved on to Logansport, where he encountered the Young brothers. Jamie was a junior at the time, and, in Schilling’s words, a “little rough around the edges.”
Jason, on the other hand, was a miniature version of Schilling. The consummate point guard and floor leader, Jason would command the respect of the upperclassmen during varsity open gyms, even though he was merely a seventh grader.
That bravado frequently didn’t fly with Jamie’s teammates, with whom Jason was not only constantly playing against, but hanging out with off the court.
“He was a feisty guy as a player, a feisty kid,” said Jamie of his younger brother. “I was his protector.”
Though the Youngs lived in Logansport with their father, Tom, and their grandmother, Schilling considered Jamie and Jason adopted sons. The brothers were a mainstay at the Schilling household, where basketball was never a taboo topic. Schilling took the boys to Five Star Basketball Camps, where they would build connections that would come to change their lives.
The trio remains close. Jason had Schilling be a part of his wedding, while Jamie said Schilling was the best coach he’s ever had, and credits him with smoothing out his “rough edges.”
“I wouldn’t say I was a bad person or a bad kid, but he helped me become a better person, a better student, to treat people better,” Jamie said of Schilling. “Just all the things…he saw where I had flaws in my life and he helped me get those right.”
In college, Jamie ended up in a place he’d never thought he’d be, and garnered national honors in a sport that wasn’t his true love.
Following his graduation from Logansport in 1993, Jamie found himself at Blackburn College, a small liberal arts school in central Illinois. He spent five years there, earning All-American honors — in football — for his play at free safety.
Jamie then caught on as an assistant coach for the men’s basketball team at Greenville College, a small Christian institution 60 miles southeast of Blackburn’s campus.
It was there that Jamie made his first coaching connection.
During Jamie’s second year in the program, George Barber took over as head coach. Three years earlier, Barber had been an administrative assistant for Rick Pitino’s Kentucky Wildcats, who would win the national championship by toppling Marcus Camby-led Massachusetts and Jim Boeheim’s Syracuse in the Final Four.
Before the start of his third season at Greenville, Jamie received his big break.
He got a call from one of his best friends, Brendan Brown. Brown, the son of Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown, was the video coordinator for the New Jersey Nets and needed an assistant.
Jamie threw his clothes in the car and took off for the Garden State.
The Nets were under the tutorship of Byron Scott, a three-time NBA champion with the Los Angeles Lakers during his playing days. Scott was the team’s third coach in two years. The first one, John Calipari, had been relieved of his duties in March of 1999.
In March of 1996, it had been Calipari directing Camby, the eventual No. 2 pick in the 1996 NBA draft, and the rest of the Minutemen to the school’s first-ever Final Four appearance. (That accomplishment was later vacated by the NCAA).
One of Calipari’s assistant coaches at UMass and with the Nets was Schilling, who left Logansport after Jason’s junior season to join Coach Cal. It was the first step in a whirlwind year for Schilling, who became the subject of a Sports Illustrated article after he went from instructing high school students in Indiana to coaching in the Final Four to figuring out how to slow down Michael Jordan at the peak of his powers — all in the span of 310 days.
Schilling left the Nets in 1997 to become the head coach at Wright State, a job he held for six seasons. He then rejoined Calipari at the University of Memphis for two seasons before returning to Indiana to become Executive Director of the Champions Academy in Zionsville, and eventually the head boys basketball coach at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis.
Though basketball shuffled him through seven coaching jobs in just over 20 years, Schilling said he’s learned to value the interactions with his players, regardless of the playing level.
“The thing I’ve learned is to appreciate the relationships you gain from wars and battles on the court, whether it’s Park Tudor or Nets vs. Bulls,” said Schilling, who has won back to back Class 2A state titles with Park Tudor. “Dealing with victories and losses, those are the things that build relationships.”
Jason Young likes to joke that he knew Lynch before the MV coach’s hairless days.
Back then, Lynch was an assistant coach under former Indiana Mr. Basketball Steve Alford at Manchester College, a Division III school just west of Ft. Wayne. Lynch, who contributed to “Guard Play” — a basketball book co-authored by Alford and Schilling — saw Jason play plenty at Logansport, but said it wasn’t “feasible” that the talented guard would end up suiting up for Manchester.
In Jamie’s mind, Jason should’ve started on the varsity squad as a freshman, but believes Schilling kept Jason on the junior varsity for a season so his body could catch up with his blossoming skill set.
On Dec. 3, 1993, Jason, a sophomore, hit a go-ahead 3-pointer late in the fourth quarter to hand Muncie Central its only regular-season loss. The Bobcats finished 24-2, and were led by Bonzi Wells, who went on to break Harper’s MAC career scoring record before playing 11 seasons in the NBA.
During his senior season, Jason dished out 23 assists against Rochester, a single-game assist mark that still stands in Indiana High School basketball record books.
Jason would go on to play Division I ball at Iona College (N.Y.), where he would compete in a pair of NCAA tournaments. He was a captain and a starter his junior and senior seasons with the Gaels.
When his playing days were over, Jason taught at the Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center in Noblesville for five years, and coached high school basketball at Carmel and Westfield, spending time as a junior varsity head coach and varsity assistant at each destination.
In 2007, everything changed for Jason.
His father died. Twelve days later, Maverick was born. Jason decided to take the year off from coaching.
“I thought I was done,” he recalled. “I wanted to be home with my family.”
Jason gave up teaching and got involved in medical sales. He is now the East Region Sales Manager for Ecolab Healthcare’s Orthopedic Division.
But Jason couldn’t shake the coaching bug, and began helping out with Indiana Elite, an AAU basketball organization.
That’s where he began to run into Lynch, who took over at Mt. Vernon in 2005 after another coaching stop with Alford at Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State), and short stints at Whitko High School in South Whitley and at Ball State.
Lynch, whose sister-in-law went to high school with Jamie, offered Jason a chance to join his staff at Mt. Vernon.
“He’s been here ever since,” Lynch noted.
Frank Vogel, the head coach of the Indiana Pacers, began his ascent in the coaching world by starting out as Pitino’s video coordinator at Kentucky. When Pitino landed the Celtics’ head coaching job in 1997, Vogel followed and was given the same job he had in Lexington.
After Pitino resigned in January of 2001 and assistant coach Jim O’Brien — who also tagged along from UK — was named head coach, Vogel was promoted to assistant coach under O’Brien.
Vogel called Jamie, his roommate at Five Star Camp, to see if Jamie wanted his old job as video coordinator.
Once again, Jamie threw his clothes in the car, and drove to Boston. After three days of interviews, he officially had the position.
Jamie hasn’t left since.
Now in his 12th season with the Celtics, Jamie has experienced his ups and down with the franchise.
He feared for his job after O’Brien and his staff — including Vogel — were dismissed in 2004. But, the team’s President of Basketball of Operations, Danny Ainge, quelled his fears.
“I went to Danny at the end of the season and said, ‘What’s going to happen with me?’” Jamie offered. “He told me, ‘I don’t want you to go anywhere. I want you to stay right here.’”
Jamie spent his first six years in Boston as the team’s video coordinator. He was elevated to advance scout for four years, and now is in his second season as an assistant coach.
He can’t imagine doing anything else.
“If I wasn’t coaching, I don’t know what else I would do,” Jamie admitted.
The hours they put in at their respective gyms isn’t enough basketball for the Youngs.
Jamie still follows basketball in his home state, from Division I college hoops to the high school game. He listens to former Indiana coach Dan Dakich’s radio show on 1070-AM when he can.
Lynch and Jason spend a lot of time on the phone, whether they’re both en route to work at 7 a.m. or driving back at 11 p.m. from a scouting assignment.
They talk about Mt. Vernon, the Celtics, Alford, Calipari and the other happenings in the world of basketball.
The candidness between the two translates to the court, where Jason far from a “yes man” assistant.
“I’m not afraid to tell coach (Lynch) when he’s doing something wrong or when he made a bad decision,” Jason said. “I think he likes that.”
Though their lives have been uprooted time after time over the years, the Youngs wouldn’t change a thing, and Lynch believes that it’s simply the love of the game that drives them all.
“I don’t think you see that any different in the Youngs,” he said.
The Young Network
High School: Logansport, Class of 1996. Recorded Indiana high school single-game assist record (23) vs. Rochester during 1995-96 season.
College: Iona College (N.Y.). Class of 2000. Starter and captain junior and senior seasons.
Professional: 2000-03: Carmel High School. JV boys basketball head coach (one year). Varsity assistant (two years). 2000-05: Instructor at Hamilton County Juvenile Detention Center. 2003-07: Westfield High School. JV boys basketball head coach (one year). Varsity assistant (three years). 2005-present: East Region Sales Manager for Ecolab Healthcare Orthopedic Division. 2008-present: Mt. Vernon High School. Boys varsity basketball assistant coach.
High School: Logansport, Class of 1993.
College: Blackburn College (Ill.). Class of 1998. Played football, basketball. Division III All-American free safety.
Professional: 1998-00: Greenville College (Ill.) Assistant men’s basketball coach. 2000-01: New Jersey Nets. Assistant video coordinator. 2001-present: Boston Celtics. Video coordinator (six years). Advance scout (four years). Assistant coach (two years).
Ainge was an All-American at Brigham Young University, won two championships during a 14-year stint in the NBA and has captured one NBA title as the President of Basketball Operations with the Boston Celtics. Ainge retained Jamie Young on the Celtics’ staff after the team relieved Jim O’Brien’s staff of duties, a group that included Frank Vogel.
Currently the head men’s basketball coach at the University of New Mexico, Alford previously was the head coach at Manchester College (Ind.), Southwest Missouri State (now Missouri State) and the University of Iowa. Alford, a former Indiana Mr. Basketball, concluded his college playing career as Indiana University’s leading scorer and played four years in the NBA. He co-authored the book “Guard Play” with Ed Schilling.
Barber was an administrative assistant for Rick Pitino at the University of Kentucky, serving on the same staff as Jim O’Brien and Frank Vogel, before becoming the head coach at Greenville College (Ill.) in 1999. Jamie Young was an assistant coach under Barber for two seasons at Greenville.
Brown, a close friend of Jamie Young, helped Jamie break into the NBA as the New Jersey Nets assistant video coordinator in 2000. Brown worked under John Calipari for the Nets. The son of Hall of Fame coach Hubie Brown, Brendan Brown is the New York Knicks radio color analyst for road games.
Calipari was the head coach at the University of Massachusetts, the Nets and the University of Memphis, with Ed Schilling assisting him at each location. Jamie Young became the assistant video coordinator for the Nets the season after Calipari left the team. Presently, Calipari is the head men’s basketball coach at Kentucky, the defending national champions.
Lynch is in his seventh season as the head boys basketball coach at Mt. Vernon. He was an assistant coach under Steve Alford at Manchester and Southwest Missouri State. Lynch was an assistant coach at Ball State University, and contributed to “Guard Play.” Jamie Young went to high school with Lynch’s wife. Lynch saw Jason Young, now an assistant coach at MV, play many times when Jason was in high school.
The former head coach of the Celtics, Indiana Pacers and Philadelphia 76ers is an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks. He was also an assistant coach with Rick Pitino at Kentucky and with the Celtics. O’Brien was involved with UK at the same time as George Barber and Frank Vogel.
Pitino has coached at six colleges — including Providence University and Kentucky — and with two NBA teams. Pitino is presently the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Louisville.
Before coaching the Youngs at Logansport High School, Schilling played collegiately at Miami University (Ohio). After Logansport, Schilling went on to become an assistant coach under John Calipari at Massachusetts, with the Nets and at Memphis. He also was the head men’s basketball coach at Wright State University for six seasons. Schilling is currently the head boys basketball coach at Park Tudor High School in Indianapolis and is the Executive Director of the Champions Academy in Zionsville. Schilling worked on “Guard Play” with Steve Alford and Steve Lynch.
Vogel was Jamie Young’s roommate at Five Star Basketball Camp. Vogel worked as Rick Pitino’s video coordinator at Kentucky — the same time George Barber and Jim O’Brien were at UK — and the Celtics. When Vogel was promoted to assistant coach from video coordinator with the Celtics, he interviewed Jamie Young for his former job. Vogel was an assistant coach under O’Brien with Danny Ainge-run Celtics, and was also a part of O’Brien’s staff with the Pacers. Vogel is the head coach of the Pacers, taking over that position in January of 2011 after O’Brien was fired.