Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Twitter – @DYoung42
Danny Young has been the Head Boys’ Basketball Coach at Shaker Heights High School since 2009 after coaching under Hall of Fame Coach Bob Wonson in various roles since 1993. Young has won over 200 games as the leader of the Raiders program and taken the team to 6 Regional Tournaments in the state of Ohio.
Young has coached numerous standout players in his career including Terry Rozier of the Charlotte Hornets. Young’s son Daniel will be a senior next fall and is one of the top prep players in Ohio.
Danny played his college basketball at Hiram College (OH) where he was a 4 year letter winner, two time team captain, and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
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Have a notebook handy as you listen to this episode with Danny Young, Boys’ Basketball Head Coach at Shaker Heights High School in the state of Ohio.
What We Discuss with Danny Young
- Being cut from his middle school team in both 7th and 8th grade
- Learning the game by playing 3 on 3
- Playing pickup basketball all over the city of Akron and how his that taught him to become a gritty player and do more than just score
- The story of his former player, Harry Carroll, that got cut as a junior but worked on his game and came back to become a starter as a senior at Shaker Heights
- Having success as a high school player at Buchtel High School in Akron, Ohio
- His decision to attend Hiram College and eventually being selected for the Hiram Hall of Fame after being a 4 year letter winner and 2 time team captain
- Raising his son Daniel in the game, coaching him at Shaker Heights, and going through the recruiting process as a parent and a coach
- Tips and advice for coaching your own child
- Make sure your kid is the hardest worker on the team and let your assistants handle a lot of the in game coaching of your child
- Three reasons why he adjusted and evolved his coaching style to become more of a teacher and less of a yeller
- Helping his players get to the college level
- Developing young men into better players…and also better people
- Using teachable moments
- The responsibility of being a mentor and role model
- Using stories to help kids see things from a different perspective
- The importance of academics and how his day job as an educator in Shaker Heights helps him as a coach
- Bringing in outside speakers to talk with his team and share valuable messages from a different voice
- Why he kept every practice plan from when he first started coaching
- The reason he never left Shaker for a Head Coaching position during his 17 years as a JV or assistant coach.
- “If you’re really trying to communicate true learning. I think the why is big.”
- Advice for taking notes and implementing new ideas from a coaching clinic
- Coaching the Charlotte Hornets’ Terry Rozier in high school and what made hime different than other guys he’s coached
- ” A challenge for me and my staff is to, on a daily basis, try to make sure we’re doing things that build character more than reputation.”
- “When much is given much is required.”
- The joy of being a difference maker in kids’ lives
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THANKS, DANNY YOUNG
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TRANSCRIPT FOR DANNY YOUNG – SHAKER HEIGHTS (OH) HIGH SCHOOL BOYS’ BASKETBALL HEAD COACH – EPISODE 464
[00:00:00] Mike Klinzing: [00:00:00] Hello and welcome to the Hoop Heads Podcast. It’s Mike Klinzing here with my co-host Jason Sunkle tonight, and we are pleased to welcome to the podcast, the head coach at Shaker Heights High School in Cleveland, Ohio, Danny Young, Danny. Welcome to the Hoop Heads Pod.
Danny Young: [00:00:15] Good evening. And thank you, Mike, for having me tonight.
I’m looking forward to having a great conversation with you.
Mike Klinzing: [00:00:20] Absolutely. We are excited to have you on and be able to dig into all the great things that you’ve been able to do in your career in basketball, both as a player back in your younger days, and now as a coach at shaker Heights high school. So let’s go back in time to when you were a young kid growing up in Akron.
Tell us a little bit about your first experiences with the game of basketball.
Danny Young: [00:00:42] My first experience wasn’t as positive as I would have liked it. But first off I started playing football. Was that, that burning desire. Cause back in the early eighties the Pittsburgh Steelers were just that team that I really truly admired.
I just [00:01:00] love the athletic season of Lynn Swan. And I always wanted to be a wide receiver like Lynn Swan. So I played football and I wish I would’ve understood the game a little bit better because the coach wanted to put me. At defensive end, which cause I was kind of tall had decent speed, you know?
So that would have been the perfect position for me as I got older, but I didn’t know the game as well. So I kinda got frustrated, but my mom wouldn’t let me quit because back then, once you start something, you have to see it through. And she said, if you, if you don’t want to do it to, at the end of the season, I’ll support that process, but you will complete the entire season.
So I completed the season didn’t play much because I was kind of frustrated because I, because I wasn’t the receiver, we had a ton of perceivers better than me. And then after that I took up basketball just start playing in the parks, just playing in the yard playing up the street around the corner with different friends and family members that had hoops in their driveways.
And then I transitioned [00:02:00] into Perkins middle school. Try it out for the team. Both years, grade seven and grade eight did not make it either year. And once again, my mom and dad did not make any excuses or want to speak with the coach or the principal. Really? They didn’t say anything like better.
Let’s do better. Try harder next time. You know what I mean? Right. I just started going down to the urban league, downtown Akron plan against older gentlemen that were either ex high school stars, ex college players, maybe some semi-pro guys that just really understood the game. And it was really three on three.
It really wasn’t a lot of full court. Because you had to share the court because it was like random kids playing on one end and then those old school guys playing on other end, it was just some very hard-nose competitive three on three. And it just taught me how to play because you can’t hide in three, on three.
You gotta know how to move without the ball. You gotta be able to rebound. You have to pass, you have to screen, you have to really have a good feel for the game. So I [00:03:00] transitioned into Buchtel high school and then I was successful. I finally made the team. And then from there had some success.
Mike Klinzing: [00:03:08] Do you ever use that story of you not making your middle school team with. Your kids and your program. So when you go down, let’s say you’re talking to middle school kids, or you’re talking to kids that are involved in your youth program. Do you ever have that discussion of, Hey look, just because this door closed for you temporarily this year, because you didn’t make the team.
I want you to be able to stick with it and unhelped them to understand that a lot of times, especially with the game of basketball, the development process is long-term. Do you ever use that story with them?
Danny Young: [00:03:38] I use that story all the time. And he looked at me like crazy. They look at me like, I’m crazy. I do use it.
I use it a lot to let them know it’s, the door is never closed. And I have a great example of that with a kid. And I don’t think he would mind me using his name. Harry Carroll. I think he’s a student right now at the Ohio state, super smart [00:04:00] kid, hard nose kid. I cut him as a junior. But no parent meeting parent then need to meet with me or anything.
Harry didn’t need to meet with me. He just took it like a man and walked out the gym and he came back his senior year and he was just a different young man lane mean, and shape can get up and down was strong as an ox. He was competing against my guys that probably were going to start that year. And the gym was just buzzing about Harry Carroll.
I mean, to the point where like all the returning guys that. You knew they were going to make the team were coming to me like, coach, you got to get this guy serious look. Right. And I already knew I was going to do that. Cause I’m just watching him go at the guys that were on my team pretty much already.
And he was just holding his own, if not exceeding the competitive play against those guys. And then he made the team and then he, he, he worked out so [00:05:00] well during the preseason and during some of the scrimmages and the first couple of games he played a lot to a point where he was so productive.
I had to start him. And Harry started for me as a senior, after being cut as a junior. And we went all the way to the district championship. And I think we lost in the district championship to Euclid that year. But I now use that story all the time because a lot of the kids remember Harry, remember how he got cut, remember how you came back bigger, faster, stronger, and better state, better condition.
And just what a mentality that I’m going to feel the roll up. I’m going to be the toughest guy on the court and do all those things that. The other guys may not do. And the things that may not show up in a step book. So I love that story about Harry Carroll.
Mike Klinzing: [00:05:47] Did he tell you like what he did over the summer to really go back and improve his game and improve his body?
Did you guys have that conversation at any point during that season?
Danny Young: [00:05:56] We did on his own, he didn’t pay for all these [00:06:00] fancy trainers or anything like that. He just worked out in our weight room or at a gym that he had a membership app, lifted weights, conditioned, and just got in the gym and just worked on his skills to a point where he’s able to ramp it down, make a up, make a free throw.
He was strong enough to guard the other big. He had the strength of a, I would say like a six, five, six, six guy, but he was only like six, two and a half, but why body strong and his job was to go in there and just lay on other teams, big, you know grab every rebound, offensive and defensive dive on the floor, just muck the game up to just make the game very physical and erratic and.
She filled that void very, very well. And I’m very proud of him. Very proud of that story.
Mike Klinzing: [00:06:44] And I think it’s one that, yeah, when you think about just again, when we look at how the youth basketball system is set up, and this will kind of go into my next question as well, but you think about how travel teams are set up today and you got third [00:07:00] grade and there, this is the team and this is the B team and who’s going to be on there.
And people are kind of jockeying for position, so to speak, to try to get into this team or that team. And then here’s a kid who doesn’t even make the team when he’s a junior in high school. And then he comes back the following year as a senior puts work in and. Makes the team. And then not only that, but becomes a starter an important part of what was obviously a very successful team.
And I think when I, when I listened to you talk about just the way that you grew up in that particular story, I think about how different it is today with the way kids grow up in the game of basketball. And you mentioned just being at the rec center and being out at the parks and playing three on three and playing pickup basketball, playing with older guys, whether it’s college players or adults or whoever it may be.
And it’s just that the systems now are so different. So when you think back to your own experiences out in the playground and you developing and becoming a better player could because obviously just like Harry, you had a [00:08:00] similar situation in that you didn’t make the team for two years in a row. So you obviously had to go and put some time in and work and try to get better.
So what do you remember about that time from, let’s say the transition from junior high school to high school, and then on, through your high school career, what did you do to become a better player? Back in those days.
Danny Young: [00:08:19] I think the biggest piece growing up in the city of Akron, you can find a park on the West side, East side, South side, North side, any side of town suburbs.
You can go anywhere and find. Some quality basketball. So first off in my driveway had a makeshift who one of the cheap hoops you get at back then it was Kmart. Now it’s Walmart. You know what I mean?
Mike Klinzing: [00:08:43] So you were one step ahead of me cause I had a piece of plywood that my dad cut into the shape of a fan shaped Backboard with a big giant pole.
And so you, you clamps that hook, that hook, that fan back board onto that, onto that pole. So you were one step ahead of me. If you had a hoop that got bought at a [00:09:00] store, I had a, I
Danny Young: [00:09:00] I hope they got bought at a store. So I’m one step ahead of you there. But there was a park wrapped the street from where I live called Perkins pool.
Either I was in my yard or up there at the pool or at ed Davis or at summit Lake rec center, the big gym on the North side and, or Krogan park out in a fair line, which is a suburb or the big gym down there at Akron university. And I just try to play against guys that were just way better than me and get used to the strength, the speed, the physicality, the skill level.
And I just worked and worked and worked. So my routine was go to school run home, do the homework real quick. I’ve had a few chores. Knock those out, go to the urban league. Urban league is not open I’m at a park, just working, working, working, working to a point where I developed on my own. Like, like, like I said, a jump shot I was known as a, as a three point shooter.
I can get to the rim a little bit. I can rebound a little bit, I can get up and down athletically. But I was known as a three [00:10:00] point shooter and that’s something that developed over the course of a couple of summers just through repetition. And so I’m watching these guys now and they’re paying and I’m not knocking any trainers.
Kids should have trainers. I think it’s very productive and useful to have a trainer, but. You can just get a ball and get to a room and you can work and work and work and work and get yourself better and be able to shoot a mid range, jump shot, shoot a three point shot show off the dribble. You and I just had those older guys that kinda mentored me after they whoop up on you a little bit, then they’ll pull you off the side after they win the game, or you got to break in play and just kind of tell you kind of here’s what I was able to do, what I did to you.
And so here’s something you need to think about when you’re going against me. You know, they kind of gave you tips in terms of how you can improve your play because all these guys were like I said, superstars and they own right during their time period, they played at the division one division two college level.
And so I’m going against those [00:11:00] guys every single day. And it wasn’t a day. We didn’t play. I’m not talking about Monday through Friday, Saturday, and every now and then on Sunday. We will, we will play as well. So it was a big jug of cold water that you freeze at night, you know? And then you, you take it to the park and it’s so hot outside.
By the time you get done playing three, four, five games, you got to, you got a nice cold beverage of water to kind of refresh yourself and going so hard, but now you take some kids outside. Oh, it’s too hot coach.
Mike Klinzing: [00:11:28] Yeah. There’s no doubt about that.
Danny Young: [00:11:29] It’s just different. So that helped me become all city, at that time it wasn’t AAU, so I didn’t have a lot of exposure. And a couple of schools called me and my senior year, it was like, my phone is ringing off the hook, even though I had a pretty good high school career. And Brad Ellis from Hiram college called me and introduced me to Hiram. And I took a visit.
And I, I heard about her because I had a cousin who graduated from high room and she [00:12:00] called and told me, after we, we spoke about, Hey Hiram, color’s called me. Can you tell me a little bit about hiring? Because I know you went there and she just stressed how great of an academic institution it was. And that I should take a serious look at.
It went down like the small atmosphere, like I said, I wasn’t getting 2030 calls or I didn’t have 35 offers or anything like that. So I kind of faced reality knowing I’m going to play the D three level and went down there and had a pretty successful career was voted captain my sophomore, junior, senior year.
Had a great freshman year. Went, went far, our junior and senior year, the tournament. And then I got inducted into the hall of fame in 2013 and hired them. So it worked out.
Mike Klinzing: [00:12:43] That’s very cool. It’s always good to hear when somebody ends up in a place that turns out to be such a positive for them, both in terms of their basketball career and just their life in general.
And it sounds like Hiram was that place for you, that you got to a [00:13:00] basketball program that fit. With your personality that fit with your playing style that gave you an opportunity to play and be successful. And sometimes we all know, all we got to do is look at the transfer portal individual one today, and know that that, that doesn’t always happen.
I do think it was probably a little bit of a different mentality then in terms of the kids probably stuck around at least a little bit more than they do today. Now it seems like regardless of what level you could start back in a U and go through high school and into college. And just talk about people jumping ship from one team, one program, one college to another it’s way more prevalent obviously now than it ever was back in the time that even our plan, I want to revisit your playground time and just ask you, were there one or two guys that you remember.
From that time that really took you under their wing. And was there any pieces of advice that they gave you? Cause you mentioned guys trying to give you some little tips after they, after they beat up on you a little bit on the court, but do you remember one or two guys, [00:14:00] particularly that stood out that kind of watched out for you or when you were younger and really took you under their wing and kind of helped you to get into games and that kind of thing?
Danny Young: [00:14:08] I would say my cousin and I’m sure you know, his name is Jimmy Gooden absolutely played a Central Hower high school. Legend and Akron stills down here doing things around to give a basketball. So I would find it a privilege to play alongside him. Sometimes he would pick me up. Let me play with him.
And if you weren’t paying attention, you had to pay attention at all times because he was a grand wizard at passing that ball for a layup or pass that ball to a corner jump shot or back out on the wing or top of the key. So when I first had to play with him, I could tell there was a difference in skill level.
I felt my skill level was not where his was, but as time went on and I got better and better, got a little taller, a little stronger, I got used to that pace. And like I said, he was mentoring me and coaching me. And pretty much he just said, you gotta pay [00:15:00] attention. You gotta run the court hard. You gotta work hard at all times and do not ever, ever take place off when you’re in between those lines, you have to be engaged and locked in mentally and physically.
That, that, that’s the one bit of advice that, that he shared with me and he also shared with me how. To make others better. You know, you can score, you can get to the rim, but I want to see you break people off sometimes and then dump that sucker down for it. Hope dump or kick out or a hook pass or a better shot at top of the key.
So I try to kind of get that little magic Johnson type field trying to share that ball on the playground and get a few assists. Another guy was Majlis Meadows who play with Jimmy at central Howard. He was a bigger, stronger guard and just had a motor and an engine just had a major engine in terms of.
Getting the ball off the back board, pushing it hard until he got stopped. [00:16:00] And if he didn’t get stopped, he’s finishing. If he did get stopped, he’s making a play. And what he taught me is you got to go harder. Your motor is now open up enough. You’re not, you’re not, you’re not competing on both ends.
You’ve got to do other things besides your score. Let me see you come to glass a little bit. You see guard the best player. You know what I mean? Things like that, just being gritty, grimy and tough and physical, I would say would be the best advice that mindless kind of gave me and never back in down from a, from a challenge being competitive at all times win or lose or draw, just be competitive.
Absolutely. Those are two guys that took the most from all right.
Mike Klinzing: [00:16:36] So I want to ask you in relation to that. So there’s obviously some great lessons that you learned from those guys who were older than you, that you learned on the playground and for our audience, your son is an outstanding high school player right now that plays for you at shaker Heights high school.
So tell our audience a little bit about your son, his career, where he is right now. And then what I’d like to do is kind of [00:17:00] compare and contrast your upbringing in the game versus his kind of in your mind and how you try to go about instilling some of those lessons that you learned on the playground.
How did you try to instill those lessons in him as he was growing up in the game?
Danny Young: [00:17:15] Well he started AAU around third, fourth grade. He played for Brad Downs and SMAC. Brad kinda was going around to all the suburban schools in our area and just plucking kids. He thought they had potential and he came up to my wife and I and said I think Daniel has potential.
Can I coach him up? And I really wasn’t into the AAU thing that much. And I really wasn’t trying to push him that early, but I said, let’s get it going. And he played for Brad and he wasn’t, I wouldn’t say he was the best on the team, but he wasn’t the worst either. And I just saw things like, okay, I think I can help him in that area.
I think we worked on this. If you can do this, that, and the third and get better. But, but what I liked about [00:18:00] that process once My wife called and told me that after I had to leave, I went to one of his time at games and he played, okay, he didn’t play as best, but I gave him a little dab and I said, son, I got shoot to practice.
Do you want to go? He said, no, dad, I think we’ll stay with mom. And then my wife called me and she told me, she said she’s my wife said, Hey daddy your son just asked me to take him to the, to the gym or the park because he wants to get better. So on his own, he knew that he wasn’t at the level that some of those other kids were at.
And at that time, when you’re that age, the better kids are normally you’re a better ball handlers. If you have a good handle, a good feel for dribbling, you can get your spots better. And it just, it just helps everything. And we hadn’t worked on that. So he kept playing a, you got a little bit better, a little bit better.
He started getting into the development process of it. But I just didn’t think he had the grittiness or the grinding is that I had grown up in the inner city going against those tough minded guys [00:19:00] from the city. You know, I’ve been blessed enough. I’m no nowhere near rich but I’m able to live in the suburbs.
You know what I mean? So he had that, that, that kind of mild-mannered type game. And so we used to always go against a team called a man’s field calves. Once he got to about fifth, sixth, seventh grade, I think it was. And they would just whoop up on us. And then after the game, the coach always come to me and say, Hey, I know the coach not playing your son as much as probably like, but once he gets in there, I mean, we’ve played her like five times now.
I love your kid. If you ever want to bring them down to Mansfield, I think it’d be a good piece for us. You see how. No, we, we will perform on y’all hall and how we play. It’s a little bit different than how y’all play. And I think your son would benefit from that. And I started thinking about it like, Ooh, man, I still do.
I can’t find it like that in Akron. So I say, okay, I’m going to try this. So. I would drive him down to mansfield. I think we practiced once or twice a week. And I remember when I walked into the [00:20:00] practice gym, it reminded me of remember the movie Rocky, when Rocky got whooped up on by clever Lang and his buddy, Carl weathers, Apollo told him that, man, you lost that because you lost the I at the time.
And we’re going to go back to those humble beginnings back to that, Jim, where, where Apollo. Learn how to be tough and grimy when he beat Rocky and then Rocky came back and beat him. So remember that part, where they walk into that gym and they suits and everything. And then all the guys are in that, in that gym, hitting on the bags and all that.
And they stop and they look at Rocky, Apollo walking in and they had that looked like I’m about to knock your block off. That’s the same look when I walked in and turned my son loose, all those kids stopped and just start looking at us like I can tell they’re not quite from these parts. You know what I mean?
And I told my wife, I said, this is exactly right. What I have been looking for, and it took him like maybe a tournament to kind of get used to and [00:21:00] a few more practices. And after a while you saw, he got, as, as the kids call it, he got a little more sauce in his game and tried a little more creative things that the rim, he could take a hit better and not cry.
You know, he just got a lot tougher. And, and that was the beginning of what I learned at the park. He learned it at, at, in Mansfield Mansfield, Cavs, AAU organization. And then from there it just got better and better. And of course, once I saw he had a little talent for it, then I started showing some things that people show me in terms of being able to shoot the ball at a high level be able to get to your spot, having a nice handle being in shape.
You want to get up and down the court, being able to defend your spot. You know what I mean? And make others around you better and just be a good teammate. So I started kind of getting involved more, had a few trainers, but. Really, it was kind of Mike myself and Daniel kind of just add a gym getting those reps in and trying to teach them the game the [00:22:00] right way and, and be tough as you can.
And, and so now he had a really good middle school coach. My assistant coach, Kevin Foster coached him in grade seven and grade eight. And he did a very good job teaching them how to be even more aggressive. And I think it really prepared him well for being able to start at the high school. And you know, it, it was kinda tough at times because I used to hear the rumblings that this a little bit, but I didn’t let it bother me.
Cause I knew the kid worked his tail off. Oh, he’s only starting as a freshman because his dad’s a coach. So what really helped tremendously to kind of help some of that freshman year game one of his career, first game of his career as a freshmen starting varsity, I shake her eyes. We play against Akron Booktell high school.
Against future NBA player, Chris Livingston and Daniel comes out in scores, 27, five and five first game out the gate, very first game of the gate. So that quieted [00:23:00] a whole bunch of people at once. And then three games later, we play our rival Garfield Heights. You know, you got the story of Danny young, Daniel Young, Jr.
And you guys sunny Johnson Jr. They go against each other with Nietzsche over there and he comes out and puts up 31, six and five. And so now some of that rumbling of, okay, this kid, maybe he is. Pretty good. Maybe it isn’t just about his dad. And so once he started showing me that he had the ability to be pretty good, that just put the pedal to the metal.
And then I really increased the training around strength conditioning jumping rope, more skilled work in the gym. First to the gym last to leave. I wanted his teammates to see him in the gym as they’re walking in and then in the gym as they’re walking out, but they’re more than welcome to join us and train with us because we are a team.
And then even when we left the gym, we went to another gym after homework was done to put up more reps. And [00:24:00] so I think his success that he’s having right now, like this year, he had a great year this year. First team, all district, second team, all state second team, five 50 cleveland.com. He scored us 1000 point as a junior.
He’s had a great year and I just think it’s the fruit of his labor. Like right now, I’m on the phone with you or in this recording, he’s up at a gym right now by himself shooting the ball at a, at a, at a gym that we go to any, and he already had his strength, conditioning workout at five o’clock.
So did that, ran home, took a protein shake as I’m pulling in, he’s backing out dad, I’m going to going to the gym and get my reps up. And sorry. I said, if I get off this call, I might come up here and take you through a little quick routine to the double it. So he puts the work in. So for anybody that thinks that or says that I wish I can show him, but he’s showing him, you know what I mean?
Right. You know, he’s showing it. So now he’s a good [00:25:00] little player has the offer from Akron university, Cleveland state, and then we’re hearing from some Mac schools, some schools in the OBC. You know, you’ve got maybe one or two big 10 schools snipping around this is a, this is a tough market right now with this transfer portal.
So we’re just going to work hard. He’s playing very well with a new team going against some other top guards in the country playing well. So far we’re eight and two with our first two tournaments and he’s playing well. He’s playing real well. All
Mike Klinzing: [00:25:29] right. What advice would you have for other high school coaches out there, or just coaches in general when coaching their own children?
What is, what has worked for you? What’s maybe something that didn’t go as smoothly as you thought. Just some advice that you would have for somebody who’s coaching their own kid.
Danny Young: [00:25:46] I think just make sure their kid is the hardest worker. Make sure that the talent level is there for them to be very, very successful on the court.
Be a humble, nice kid that [00:26:00] others want to be around. And, and one thing that helped Daniel I see the principal at Woodbury elementary school at five six building and Daniel came there and grace six from Revere. He went to Revere kindergarten through fifth grade, and then he’s been at shaker since sixth grade.
And at the end of the year, we have what are called clap outs, where you clap out the clap the sixth grade class and send them off to the middle school. And I’m reading the names of each sixth grade classroom. And, and then Daniel’s class come up and Daniel Young. All right. And then at the end of the ceremony, I’m shaking hands and kissing babies with all the family members that are there and telling the parents has been a great gear.
And we appreciate all your support. About 15 kids ran up on me afterwards and said, Mr. Young. Is Daniel Young, your son? now, this is the end of the school year. That’s awesome. I did not know the entire school year that Daniel was my [00:27:00] son. So what that told me was he didn’t walk around the building.
Like I can run the show, I can get extra milk. I can cut the line. You know, I can do a, say what I want to say. I’m coming to office when I want to, he didn’t carry himself like that. He acted like he was just any other kid in the building. And there were a lot of kids that never made that connection. That that was my son.
So that just showed me. And that shows us in this conversation kind of how he carries himself and, and his teammates really love him and they, and he loves them and it’s working out very well. You know, you’ve had a couple of bumps in the road as always but overall it’s been a good experience.
So I would say just be humble, be a hardworking kid. Love the process of getting better. And love the process. Not only can you get better, but how are you helping your teammates get better?
Mike Klinzing: [00:27:49] Absolutely. Ever been any rebellion is probably too strong of a word, but any friction between the two of you where you were pushing him in one direction or wanted them to work on something or add [00:28:00] something or do something that maybe he just didn’t necessarily agree with, was there ever a situation like that?
And if there was how’d you guys work through that?
Danny Young: [00:28:08] Yeah. Yeah. You know, there’s certain things that I like in the proven in terms of his body, you know what I mean? Like, like. I’ve got a conversation today. I said, man, you got to work on your cows more. We got stairs and we have dumbbells. We have all kinds of jump ropes.
Why don’t you do that every other day. In addition to the weight lifting that your trainer is taking you through. So that’s something that it’s not friction, but it’s something I like to see them add without me saying it again and again. So he asked me, so you don’t think my calves are develop enough?
You know? So I think he’s, he heard me and then I kind of know, I think they could be bigger. So yeah, that, but you know what? I got good coaches, Kevin then foster, Adrian Lewis, Jaylin head, Ron Burnett, especially Ron Burnett. Rob Burnett is like the godfather on [00:29:00] my staff. He was really with Bob Wonson, who I succeeded rest his soul.
He passed away and then the administration offered me the job. But Ron B after bypass joined my staff and he’s been with me since. It’s been full cast 12 years. And so I was a Barracuda. Oh, I was a mean son of a gun on Daniel. I thought I got to yell at him more. I got to show everybody that I’m harder on him.
And he would just tell me after games, he’ll say, look, you can listen to me if you want to. I know you, the head coach, and I know it’s your show, but you are just too hard on him. You need to ease up on him. And if you too hard, you’re going to break him. There’s too much, Danny. I know, trying to do in the calm down.
And so I thought about it and then I came home to my wife. I said, do you agree with Ron? He just said, well, not the dinner. She said, yes, yes. But what I decided to do is during games. I don’t really coaching. I might, I might coach the effort or I might coach you. Could’ve been a little bit better on [00:30:00] defense.
I let my assistant, Kevin Foster do most of the talking to him. Like when I, when I take him out, I might say a little bit, but not much. Kevin’s the one that, that does the tough coaching on him and telling him what he sees and what he can do better. So I kind of passed that, that rain on to Kevin who had him in middle school and really understood how he, how he works best and how he can be successful.
So that’s been really good, but I can’t remember a last big rock. ’em sock ’em argument around basketball. I tried, I’ve calmed down a lot and you know, my latter years in my, in the nineties, when I first started some not players come back and say, is that your couch, you and got soft. I mean, it’s a different time.
I just don’t think the kids can take it anymore. Like, like it was back in the nineties where you really getting into him and a lot of yelling. So I’ve kind of transitioned into more of a teacher. I was a teacher then, but I’m really a teacher. Now I [00:31:00] try to just teach a little bit more than yell.
And I feel myself at, to say some that I shouldn’t say. I pull out that drill by once and taught me this pocket, ten second drill, where you put them in the center circle and you tell them all, you got 10 seconds to hit that door and be out there gym. And if you’re not out, if everyone, or you’re not out in 10 seconds, you’re gonna, you’re going to pay dearly the next day.
So I just send them out and we try to get the next day. So I try not to be too overly aggressive or overly aggressive verbally on them because today’s kid don’t front mean you embarrassed me. You’re fronting in front of they tune you out anyway. So I just kind of talk it up and then if it’s, if that’s not working, we got to figure out how to get more oxygen to your brain. So we gotta put you on that baseline, that sideline, and it gets you the coffee a little bit better.
Mike Klinzing: [00:31:54] Was there a moment, was there a moment in your coaching career where you came to the realization of, [00:32:00] Hey, the kids are reacting to me and the way and the style that I coached differently than they had before?
Or was it more of a gradual over a period of years that you started to see that change? Or was there ever a light bulb moment where you’re like, Oh, I got to kind of tone some of what I used to be back in order to get the most out of the kids. Cause obviously you’re changing your style to be able to maximize what you can get out of your kids.
I’m sure. If you still thought that way X was going to get you more out of the kids, that you would still be doing X, Y, and Z, but you’re trying to maximize and become the best coach can be. So was it a light bulb moment or was it gradual.
Danny Young: [00:32:38] I’d say it was three things. I said the first thing was I was leading games with a sore back because I used to wear a dress shoes, like really nice dress suit shoes, and suits and shirts and ties because when Bob was the head coach, that’s what I saw him do.
So when I became a head coach, I made my whole staff wear suits. And then eventually by the third and [00:33:00] fourth quarter, the top buttons on undone, the tie is loosened up. They eventually, I take the tie off though to my wife. They eventually I take the jacket off, throw it to my wife. The next thing I unbutton the top two buttons.
And I’m not even worried if the dog doggone suit and then I’m just. To get their attention. I used to slam my feet on the ground loudly, just, I mean, some, some coach could whistle.
Mike Klinzing: [00:33:24] I could never do that.
Jason Sunkle: [00:33:25] So Mike’s really good at blowing a whistle, like the blow, the whistle.
Mike Klinzing: I use the whistle at basketball camp all the time. I use it to my advantage. I use it in my phys ed class. It’s a great tool, but I cannot just whistle without an apparatus to help me. Let’s put it that way.
Danny Young: [00:33:41] I love coaches that have that skill. That, that really, I mean, it’s just a great whistle so my trademark was banging, my nice shoes on the ground to get them to kind of raise their intensity level.
And I started doing that so much, man. I would go home and would have a sore lower back. The second thing that told me I needed to [00:34:00] kind of calm it down was my wife told me, she said, Danny, you are too intense on that sideline. And I think the boys are at times feeding off of your energy in a negative way.
You know, the nineties kids could take that. Like if I’m hooting and hollering, I’m jumping around, I’m really into it. I’m slamming my feet on the ground. I’m clapping loudly. The nineties kids could kind of utilize that, bottle it up and then boom, explode and just jump on other teams. I would say early two thousands kids, it, it lost its effect some, and then the third piece was I just came to the realization from my store back.
My wife’s saying down. And then for me just saying, and just learning more about the game, watching some of my favorite coaches on the sideline coach division one going to other games, watching those coaches that are getting down to Columbus cause you know, after you lose you start, you [00:35:00] know, you get your tickets at your hotel.
You want to go see what is it that these teams are doing to get themselves down to the final four in Columbus? This, she was in Dayton, but in previous years in Columbus that just study the demeanor of the coaches and kind of how they take their time where they, they walked back away from the bench, talk for maybe 30 seconds with the staff walk back in the huddle.
And now the last three seconds is strategy. So I just watched it and I didn’t see too many coaches doing what I was doing. You know what I mean? So I, so those three pieces kind of showed me that I could still be gritty, grimy, tough minded, enthusiastic, just in a different way. You know what I mean?
Mike Klinzing: [00:35:41] Absolutely. And I think that’s something that when you look at somebody like yourself, who’s coached for a number of years and you have to, I think evolve, you have to grow, you have to learn, you have to do things in such a way that still fits who you are as a coach. Because if you’re not who you genuinely are, kids sniff [00:36:00] that out pretty quick.
But I think we all evolve. We all change and. If we don’t, we’re going to be left behind without question when, when it comes to being able to connect with kids. And not only are you connecting with kids on the basketball floor as a coach, but also obviously you’re connecting with them in the various positions that you’ve held as an educator.
And we can get into that a little bit too, but you know, kids are not the same as they were when you started your career in teaching and coaching. And they’re not the same. You and I started in about the same era and it’s certainly a different, it’s a different group of kids that you’re working with. You have to figure out and just know what you need to do in order to be able to reach those kids.
So when you think back to that time, when you were still playing, when did coaching come on your radar? When did you know that? At some point I’d like to become a basketball coach. When did that come on your radar?
Danny Young: [00:36:55] When, when, when Brad Ellis, the coach connects to the players [00:37:00] too. Some of the coaches around the local area by hiring them what have camps.
And they will hire us to work the camps. I just enjoyed that, that entire process. And when I was at Hiram, they had me do career interest inventory to kind of help guide me into a major. And I got a lot of hits with education and coaching. And so I knew I wanted to be a teacher around my sophomore year, I come to declare my major and I had a wonderful if Pfizer rest her soul, Dr. Kathy feather, who really taught me how to write, how to write at the college level, how to budget my time, how to. Become that collegiate type student athlete that was gonna be able to graduate from Hiram. She really gave me some good advice to kind of make it through. She was wonderful. Her and Frank Hempfield were probably the two most influential people at heart and helped me through, in addition to my coaches, Brad [00:38:00] Ellis & Mike Marcinko.
So I just knew I wanted to be a difference maker and I also knew that I wanted to be that guy that was able to not only win games, but help kids get to school. And I’m proud to say that since I’ve been a head coach for 12 years, every one of my seniors, they have gone off to division one, two or three.
My claim to fame I was Terry Rozier’s high school coach. And Terry Rozier plays for the Charlotte Hornets. Another big time player I’ve coached is Esa Ahmad who played with Bobby Huggins at West Virginia. Now he’s in Honduras and I can name a whole slew of other kids, Dale binder right now, Christian Guess, Nasir hardaway, Eric mud Justin Phillips.
And I don’t want to start naming names as the good guys, but we’ve coached a lot of guys to, to get to that collegiate level. And that’s, what’s all about, yeah. I enjoy having the six district titles, the six regional appearances, three out of six are [00:39:00] regional final games, but I have yet to get to the final four.
So I’m still trying to accomplish that. But more importantly, when I’m very proud of that, we’re, we’re helping African young African-American young men, or just young men in general, who make our team no matter what your color, race or creed is, if you want to. It gets to that next level. Our program will work you to that level is sure you have great academics ensure you understand the process of the act and sat and we have enough influence.
Now we can pick the phone up and get your opportunity, but you have to seal the deal with your work ethic, your skill, your personality, your communication method, or mode, how you carry yourself on off the court. We can make the path a little bit softer for you and open the door for you, but they got to seal the deal.
So we got about 50 kids out there in the course of 12 years that are at that next level. And that’s what I’m most proud of because hopefully by having a great education, you’re going to become a really good [00:40:00] person, hopefully, or you become a better father. Once that time, hopefully you become a better contributing member of our society and make the world we live in a better place.
And that makes all the world, but I’ll tell you something super cool. I got yesterday, super cool. This kid doesn’t even go to school at Shaker Heights. I coached him in a year. His name is Aiden Lau. He goes to Hudson high school, but I coached Aiden for like maybe four or five years in the AAU. And I love that kid to death, man.
He’s a hard worker, tough nose kid, big, strong body and frame. And he gave me the best out that I’ve ever had in a long time, man, because he committed to a air force. If I’m not mistaken, he got a full division, one scholarship to Air Force Academy playing football, and he gets, give me like two or three sentences.
No, they do on social media. They got the thank you. Yeah, absolutely. And, and man, I got to be very honest and it, it, it, it made me [00:41:00] smile and I was moved to emotion. I got to be very honest with you that that he recognized. Me. And I didn’t think I was doing that much for the kid, but we did have a great bond.
And you know, you just never know the impact you’re making on kids in your program, kids out of your program. Just whenever you have a interaction with kids, you, they latch on everything you say, but more importantly, they latch on everything that you do. You know what I mean? And the bottom line is I think most kids just want to know how much you care, you know what I mean?
So. That was pretty cool, man.
Mike Klinzing: [00:41:35] That’s very cool. I think one of the things that I always say when I’m talking with coaches and you start thinking about why you do what you do, and obviously we all like to win and we’re all competitive, and that’s why we’re in this business, but there’s also this other piece of it, of you do want to have an impact on kids.
You do want to act as a mentor. You do want to be able to have that kid give you that shout out three or four [00:42:00] years after you coached them more. If you’re talking about a high school player, maybe you don’t get that shout out until 10 years later when they invite you to their wedding or they call you up and they say, Hey coach, I got a new job.
Or I I just had my first kid or whatever it may be. And those are the moments that are really impactful. And I think what you just said there, Danny, about, you don’t know what those kids are taking from you. Hmm on a daily basis. Like it could be something that, and I’m sure you probably have things.
I know I do that a coach said to me that if I went back to that coach today and said, Hey coach, do you remember when you said X, Y, or Z to me, or about me, or maybe it was just something they were talking to the entire team about. And for some reason that particular moment had such a huge impact on me.
And I think we all have those things, but if you went back and ask that coach, they probably have no recollection of ever even saying those things. And that’s why I think it’s really important. What you just said is to keep in mind that when you’re in front of a group of kids or when you’re in front of one kid, [00:43:00] that the words that you use and the things that you do are super powerful and even more powerful oftentimes than what we realize.
So when you think about yourself as a mentor, and you mentioned a few of them you gotta be. Make sure that you’re it’s not just what you say, it’s what you do talking about emphasizing academics and all those pieces that you mentioned. How do you go about making sure that the kids in your program understand not just the kind of basketball player that you want them to be, but also the kind of person and student that you want them to be?
Is that a formal conversation? Is that a meeting? Is that something that’s just been built into the culture at this point? How do you get that across? How do you act in that mentor role with the kids that are part of your program?
Danny Young: [00:43:46] Well, it happens a couple of ways. We start practice at center circle on Tuffy Raider right there in the center of the gym.
And it might be a food for thought conversation that aligns to basketball. It might be something that’s [00:44:00] happening in our world that I want to just connect to what we’re trying to work on for that day. We in practice that way. I might use something as a teachable moment in terms of something that can make them a better person, a better athlete, a better kid video sessions.
Oftentimes I eat up a lot of that time just by telling us some of the stories of how I grew up in and some of the lessons I learned from others and how it connected to what we’re trying to do. And at the next game we’re trying to win. And I revert back to all the previous teams that I’ve had and kind of use different lessons from them that might be applicable to what we’re trying to work on.
When we go out to eat as a team, team bonding and you know, team bonding at the dinner table, we have these conversations so it’s a lot of ways that I try to build that culture of, yes, I’m going to be tough on you. Yes. I want you to be a good basketball player, but I really care about your personal development.
And they see me now. They see me a lot because [00:45:00] now I’m at the high school. So I’m able to have even more connections with them informally in the hallways, in the cafeteria, out in front, as they’re walking in the building out front, when they’re leaving the building in the weight room, you know? So I’m always dropping those life lessons that can help them be better young men.
And then now with social media, I think you got to kind of reach them, reach them where they are, where I text them a lot. In terms of motivational quotes, maybe a a quick you gotta be, you gotta have separation of church and state. So every now and then might send a Bible verse by saying, if you don’t believe in this, I’m not trying to force my will on you, but here it is hit delete if you don’t believe in it. You know what I mean? So I’ve never been caught on that, but you got, you gotta be careful with that one because there is separation of church and state, but anyway those types of things build that culture of while he cares a little bit more just about basketball.
You know what I mean? And sometimes they’ll [00:46:00] pull me off to the side. Like coach got talking about this, that, and the third, and it may be about basketball or it may be about female issues, something going on at home. What would you do in this case coach? So over time, we’ve built that culture and having a counseling skills help.
I’m a licensed school counselor. I’ve been an administrator for 16 years. I’ve taught third grade for six years. So I’ve worked a ton of camps. So pretty much the whole bulk of my life has been around with kids and trying to be a good listener. And some kids say I’m a good storyteller. So I can find a story that can get them to see things in a different light. What I’m trying to say without just being a lecture, you know what I mean? And I try to make them laugh in the midst of the story, which really gets them to kind of think about what I said. You know, I can see them in the video and I might be dead, serious, mad, and angry with, within the story I’m telling.
But I’m so animated with it that time I can see them [00:47:00] try. They’re trying to be serious and listen to me because I’m so wild and my hands are moving . You know, I talk with my hands and they try to hold back the last, but then they just bust out laughing. Then sometimes I bust out laughing, you know what I mean?
But through that, laughter somebody might think, well, they’re not taking you seriously, coach that, that they’re not listening to you, but they hear every word I say, because you connected with them on a level that they can receive through. Yes. You’re trying to be serious. But that humor really sealed it.
You know what I mean?
Mike Klinzing: [00:47:34] I know exactly. Do you connect your success and your ability to have those kinds of relationships with kids? How important has it been in your career that you’ve paired your coaching with your career? As an educator, because I think one of the things that we see a lot less probably today than we did back in the era when you and I grew up [00:48:00] when you and I grew up almost every high school basketball coach was a teacher in more often than not in the high school where they were coaching.
And if they weren’t in the high school, they were at least within the school district. And now you have many more guys who are high school coaches who don’t coach in the building, which as someone who has coached and been a teacher in the district where I coach, I couldn’t imagine being outside of the district just from a communication standpoint and just some of those challenges, but just talk to me a little bit about the connection between you as an educator and you as a coach and how those two have sort of played off of each other to maybe make you better at both roles.
Danny Young: [00:48:38] I think I drive the point home to them all the time. I tell my guys if we’re having issues academically which I don’t have too many of those issues, but when I do. I’m able to rectify them pretty, pretty quickly. Cause I’m big on texting mom and dad. And I told them, I’m the biggest snitch you will ever know.
You know, and I’m stitching because I love you. So I have access to progress book. So I [00:49:00] go on progress book. And if I see someone in real life, I’m texting mom or dad and the kid within the text, and then they joke, Oh, I got it covered. I promise you. I got, I got it. So I tell them, coach in basketball does not pay my pay my bills, what pays the bills is my counseling job, teaching job principal job.
And I’m an educator first before I am a basketball coach. And the one thing I value more so than how many points you could put in that hole or how high you can jump, how fast you’re going to run and how many wins you can help the team get. You have to represent us academically in those hallways and you have to be just as competitive and be just as disciplined with your academics as you are with your athletic ability.
And I put, I frame it in ways where they can really receive it, you know? So I think I got about a good 50 stories and sometimes I repeat number one, am I go to 20? Am I go to story number 29? You know, so I, I got a story for pretty much [00:50:00] everything, so that can relate and get them to think on a deeper level.
And then I also bring in outside people, you know what I mean? I try to bring some alumni that have been very successful if they’re in town or they’re, they’re, they’re local in the community. I like to bring them in the first few minutes of practice within the practice and just be a blessing to the kids talk about when you walk the halls, talk about how you transitioned from playing sports into a career to give them something else to think about in terms of after basketball.
Cause I tend for all of us eventually that ball’s going to stop bouncing for all of us at some point in our life. What are you going to fall back on? You’re going to fall back on the relationships you have developed along the way you’re gonna fall back on your education. You’re going to fall back on the ability to kind of have a skill that someone says, I want to hire that guy.
And he can help me at my business, or now I’m trying to really get them thinking about being an [00:51:00] entrepreneur. My assistant coach owns his own landscaping company and he brings in his friends that own that they own law firm or their own real estate company so we’re trying to expand their thinking.
So I try to give them experiences. That’s not only just about basketball, but something that’s locked in on life after basketball. So just trying to build that culture and try different things to get them to think on different planes. I also bring in with the parents too now during our parent meeting that every coach is required to do to start the school year.
I have a local coach at the D3 level because it’s not a violation for them to be able to talk to your program division twos and ones that could be a violation threes that I bring them in and right in the middle of my presentation, as I’m talking about the do’s and don’ts and how we’re going to operate this year here’s what, here’s our schedule.
Here’s what I expect. You know, I let a college coach come in and kind of talk about what they look for in a parent, what they look for in a [00:52:00] kid listen to this guy, coach young, we love his kids. Here’s why we’d like his kids. So it kind of validates me a little bit without me going, I’m just trying to say what, what I think, right.
You’ve got a college coach that you’re trying to get to possibly. Let him tell you what he likes and why he’s here. And you know, why he’s left his family to come over here to spend an hour with us during our parent parent meeting. You know what I mean? So just trying different techniques to kind of change the thinking around this thing we call basketball and being a true student athlete.
Mike Klinzing: [00:52:33] Yeah. I think that those outside voices I think are really important. And I think that they do add a tremendous amount of value to what you’re trying to do, because if you can get somebody else to back up your message or share your message in a slightly different way than it only adds to your own credibility.
And it also gives your kids an exposure and a connection to somebody else who’s not in the immediate family of your [00:53:00] program. And yet. Can still espouse the same message that you’re trying to get across to your team. And to me, that’s really, really important. I want to dive into a little bit of shaker Heights basketball.
Let’s go back to when you were an assistant, you mentioned earlier how you worked for coach Bob Watson, who was a legend in the Cleveland area as a high school coach. So talk a little bit about your experience coaching with coach Watson. And then tell us about the transition from being an assistant coach to taking over the program at shaker Heights.
Danny Young: [00:53:31] Well it started back in 1992. That was my first year in the district. I’ll teach in third grade at Merce elementary school, Dr. Benny Stokes and Dr. Mark Freeman and Jim paces gave me an opportunity to teach, but Bernice who hired me as a third grade teacher told me that you can not coach your first year.
I want you to lock in on being a great educator. First second year happens. I get acclimated to the field of teaching build trust with human resources. [00:54:00] Resource director, call Bernie, say, Hey, can Danny coach this year? Yeah, I think I let him coach this year and he comes over to the building and say, Hey, Bob Swanson would like to sit down with you and talk to you.
He has a JB opening and we think you’d be great for it. I remember when you, when we hired you, you said that you want to be a teacher and coach. And so he said, when you leave here, go over to the high school, talked to Bob. If Bob likes shit, we’re going to hire you. So I left Mercer, drove over to the high school, went to his office.
He asked me a few questions about Hiram. He said, yeah, I heard about you. I knew about you and heard you a good teacher. The job is yours. Is it? I said, yeah, I want it. All right. So I’m the JV coach. Did know the first thing about how to organize practice, how to have practice plans, how to have everything on time.
You know, so one thing I would advise young up and coming coaches get with a guy that. That that’s like Bob, I mean first he coached George Raveling and I will [00:55:00] stay. Right. And, and so he had that division one mindset. So, so Bob was detailed practice plans, everything on the clock announcements at the bottom three things we got taught to talk about after practice.
And I just, I would come and just watch his practice from three 30 to six. And then I practice from six to eight 30. And I stayed every one of his practice plans. Every one of them, I said, I have a book, a binder for every year that I worked for him and I was his assistant for 17 years. I got 17 binders.
And so by sitting for 17 years, you learn a whole lot about how to prepare for a game, how to manage a game, which I did not know early on how to make. No adjustments after timeouts at halftime, a coach doing this to you, how are you going to counter it? You know, what you gonna say to the guys to get them to understand the counter, you know at the end of the game [00:56:00] after a loss, don’t say as much because you might, you might say something, you shouldn’t say say it to the next day because you might cooler heads prevail, you know what you do after a hard fought game.
And do you practice hard? Do you just walk through a walk through feeding the kids pregame meals prior to them get on the bus and having them over to your house and making it about family and how do you dress? You know, like, like I said, we started wearing suits and then now we’ve evolved to just coaches, shirts and slacks and some tennis shoes, but just Watching Bob really took, helped me evolve as a coach.
I had great success as a JV coach did it for a long time. I think I was like 86 and 14 across like a 10 year span. I mean, I think I coached the only undefeated JV team that was doing Barsi stuff at the JV level. Cause I was watching Bob every day and I just doing what Bob was doing and then brought down to JV. And [00:57:00] so I did that for 17 years has an opportunity to go somewhere else and maybe you apply for jobs, but just, just never did it.
Mike Klinzing: [00:57:08] So eventually why not? Why not guy who’s had as much success that you had at that level? Obviously there was opportunities for you. I’m sure. As you just mentioned to go somewhere else.
So what was the thought process behind staying? Was it a comfort level with the Shaker Heights basketball program? Was it a set sense of satisfaction with your. Positions within the shaker Heights city school district. What was it that made you decide to stay put the circle of friends that you had made there?
What was it that, that kept you at Shaker?
Danny Young: [00:57:41] Cause I’ve been there so long I got, I got very comfortable and establish a positive relationship and the reputation, the district I got him promoted pretty quickly from teacher to school, counselor to assistant principal, to principal, and then Dr. Freeman [00:58:00] the previous superintendent allowed me to be the principal and coach, you know what I mean? So it was pretty tough to walk away from Shaker as a principal and think the district was going to pretty much pay you the same thing. You’re making it as a principal as a for sure. You know? So like I mentioned, basketball, wasn’t paying the bills.
It was the other job, but I really enjoyed the whole process of. What being a coach is you not just enjoy that process. And so I just stayed, man. I just stayed and just made the best of it and learned a lot. And then eventually unfortunately I wish he was still here. You know, Bob’s health started changing a little bit and, and he came over one day and said, I want to make you the associate coach.
I think it’s time for you to come on up. And I had turned it down twice cause he wasn’t he asked me to come up a couple of times. I said, nah, I’m gonna stay on JV. Cause I like having my own thing. He was well thing at that time I was watching the assistance. Really didn’t have a lot of say so, I mean [00:59:00] really didn’t you had a little say so, but not a lot.
So I just said I’m young still I’m learning a lot, even though I’m not the varsity assistant, I’m still learning under him. I’m gonna stay on JV. But then that third time he asked, I thought, yeah, yeah, I better. Yeah, I better get this varsity job. That was the year we went to Columbus. 1999 was my first year as the varsity assistant.
And we were ranked in the nation. We were ranked like number one or two in the state. And we lost the Cincinnati molded by five to get the state championship. And then few years down there for that. That’s when Bob asked me to be the social head coach and I took advantage of that opportunity, kept learning a lot and then eventually got the head job.
Mike Klinzing: [00:59:48] And what was the transition like going from the assistant, and obviously you had a lot of those kids that you had coached at the JV level as you come up and then you get to be the varsity assistant coach. But [01:00:00] I think sometimes when you, when you move up from an internal position where you haven’t been the head coach, and now suddenly you are people start to look at you in a different light because before you were just the assistant and now you’re the head coach.
So how did you handle that transition from assistant coach to head coach? And what advice would you have for a coach who was about to make a similar transition?
Danny Young: [01:00:27] For me, the transition was pretty solid because like I said, I sat so long. I was in those hot heated meetings when. People wanting to meet with Bob and they were upset about the position he’s playing a more of a plan time, or I don’t like the way you’re doing this then.
And I was in those meetings. He wouldn’t invite me to sit in with him. So I was able to see how he handled adversity as it pertained to parents or adversity as pertain to play or relationships. And then like my skill with being a principal, a lot of principals stuff is kind of very similar. So my [01:01:00] day job helped me deal with being an effective communicator when issues might come up and you have to kind of make them go away through effective communication, just strategizing and problem solving.
So it’s a win-win for what I need as a head man, and what you need as a player and what you’re looking for as a family for your son in my program. So the seat was hot and Bob told me. He said, you just wait one day you might be a head coach. He said, when you take that little shift to the right and you get that first chair, you’ll see how hot it is.
And it was hot, very hot. You know, expectations are higher because I had all this talent I saw Terry coming up and had Terry for years at Easter for four years and other mother, top dogs. And now everybody thinks we’re supposed to go to Columbus and win the state championship. And you know, some of the practices were like events versus practice where you’re sitting out 30 chairs and in one day they walked in and says, this practice it’s a party.
[01:02:00] Oh, I had to make a tough decision. We, we get beat up pretty good when we were number one in the area plan, number two and area Cleveland Heights. And they whipped up on us. And I just felt I had lost control a little bit of the pro of the program and the team. And I came back and I told the guys, I said, you didn’t lose this game.
I did. And I’m telling you right now, we’re having close practices, moms, dad, aunties, uncles, cousins. I mean, because you know, Terry was big Eastland bear, but I want to come. Yeah. And just watch and I’m coaching, but you’re looking at the baseline, but all these people, so I made a decision to shut down practice from that day on.
We didn’t lose another game until we lost to go to the go to Columbus. We lost the regional final, the stadiums that you’re never forget lost by five to St. Ed’s to go to Columbus. But you know, making those decisions, you know what I mean? And sometimes your decision may not be popular, but it’s the right thing to do.
You know what I mean? And being okay in your skin to make those hard decisions, knowing that you’re going to ruffle [01:03:00] some feathers, but it’s the best thing for your team and then articulating why the why behind it. So as a principal, as a counselor, as a teacher, you always have to give the why. If you’re really trying to communicate true learning.
I think the why is big. And I try to always answer the why you sound like you might not like it, but I’m going to try to explain it.
Mike Klinzing: [01:03:21] Is that different from when you started, is that different? Did you have to give the why as much when you first started your career as well in the 90’s?
Danny Young: [01:03:26] It’s more like when you and I came up, sometimes mom and dad would give you that dissertation to answer.
And sometimes they would give you this phrase right here, because I said, so, you know what I mean? So in the nineties, I coach more because I said, so I’m the head coach you do. I tell you to do as the 2000 era head I still got a lot of, because I said so in me, but I try to, here’s why we have to do it this way.
This is look at the video, look at our past success, look at our current [01:04:00] success. This is the why, you know what I mean? So yes, that definitely has evolved.
Mike Klinzing: [01:04:04] Yeah. X’s and O’s wise, how do you go about building the way that you plan on offense, the way that you play on defense, who are maybe your coaching influences and then how much do you adjust year to year what you do based on what you have in terms of personnel?
Danny Young: [01:04:20] I would say I still got a touch of Bob in me, but it’s definitely has evolved with especially the pandemic it was so many podcasts and I got invited to four Done coaches talking and I got all kinds of notes on different things.
And that go to Nike camps and clinics that were held up there at Cuyahoga Heights, high school every year, they would bring all the top, top division, one coaches up there on staff Friday, Saturday, Sunday, and I’ll stay all three days. And some of those things, man, I mean, you got to be careful because. You hear so much good stuff.
You could literally scrap everything [01:05:00] you do every year. You could start and start from scratch. So I learned that no, that’s not what I should be doing. Just let’s go with the focus and objective that I’m gonna take. I’m gonna try to find three to five things that we can do differently to make our prospect or better to maybe a better set for the personnel we have out of bounds play based on a bounce play, a quick hitter, whatever philosophy on the presses, this press versus that press gain time adjustment is skill development.
So try to get not as much because it was becoming overwhelming that a few times, like, gosh, there’s so much good stuff. Maybe what I’m doing is not, not good, but doing that, I quit doing that. I have a couple of guys up in West Virginia that I could start with. Jimmy Clayton’s one of my guys. And just when you’re watching college basketball or the NBA, you always have a legal pad, Bobby and a piece of paper.
I see some nice that they, Ooh, I think that’ll work well in our, in our, in our system. I might write it down and put it in, you know what I mean? So, [01:06:00] yeah. And just go into games like I said, I I always go to Columbus and just pick up on different nuggets. And I went, I went this year and I got like five keys that I’m going to emphasize this upcoming season to kind of help us get to that level.
So yeah, I’m always trying to learn to get better.
Mike Klinzing: [01:06:20] I think that’s really a key when you talk about becoming the best coach that you can be when you start and think back to the beginning of your career to where you are now, and sort of the whole theme of what we’ve been talking about is learning and growing and trying to get better, whether it’s as an educator, as a mentor, as a coach, and you know, that can cover things that you do off the court.
And you cover things that you do on the court in terms of X’s and O’s, and dealing with your players and try to win games, which ultimately is one of the most important things that you try to do as a coach. In addition to having an impact on the kids that are in front of you each and every day, when you think back to the best players you’ve coached.
And obviously Terry Rozier is [01:07:00] one of those players. When did you know that? What made him different, maybe from some of the other kids that came through the program, not just in terms of his elite athleticism or things, skill level on the basketball floor, but was there something about his mentality or the way he went about his business that let you know early on that, Hey, this guy, maybe he didn’t know he’s going to make it to the NBA, but you thought, Hey, this guy has an opportunity to do something special because he has these character traits that just make him stand out from some of the other kids that he’s coming up through the program.
Danny Young: [01:07:35] Just love to play basketball, you know in his free time playing basketball after school playing basketball. And that’s what he enjoys doing. He played a lot at Zelma George and other local gyms in the greater Cleveland area. Competitor just love to compete strong dislike for losing whether you’re watching him.
Or not watching him like, nah, that’s what you, as [01:08:00] coaches, they’re playing so five on five and or it’s going through some drills and you’re talking to your coach about the next drill or what need to work on the latter part of practice. And when you’re not watching, there’s certain guys that kinda become black two days ago and don’t go as hard.
He wasn’t the kind of kid that will call him out, but he would come to me on the, on the low, low and say so-and-so was not going hard. Or if we’re running lines real was trying to get in better shape. He’d say, Hey coach, he wouldn’t do it in front of him. You know, I tried to make him a verbal leader, but that’s just, that just wasn’t him at that time.
He is now, but he would come to me like this player, that player, they’re not touching line coach. So his attention to detail wanting to be great really. And every year he added something to his game. Every year he came back better and better and better. And yeah, I, I knew pretty quickly I had something special pretty quickly.
Mike Klinzing: [01:08:52] Yeah, that’s a great feeling. Having an opportunity to coach somebody who gets to that level. I’m sure one was gratifying in the moment. And then I’m sure, [01:09:00] just again, you’ve had, as you mentioned earlier, you’ve had a bunch of kids that have had success at the college level, and you’ve had people who’ve had success outside of the basketball floor, but to see somebody succeed at the highest level of the basketball court, I’m sure as a high school coach has to be tremendously gratifying to know that you played at least some small part in helping them to achieve what is let’s face it when everybody’s in second, third, fourth grade, we all have that dream of someday.
Hey, we’d like to, we’d like to lay some up and play in the NBA to have one of your players be able to be able to do that. I’m sure it was the thrill of the first time you got to go and sit and watch him play in an NBA game in the arena in person. I’m sure that was a thrill for you.
Danny Young: [01:09:40] It was big time thrill man, big time thrill.
And I remember telling him, I said, man, you can’t do what I do, man. It meant you to work your tail off, make sure you’ve got your grades. Make sure you’ve got your act score and get on down the road in Louisville and let Rick coach you up and try your best to get, have a good [01:10:00] enough career down.
Need to get yourself to the league or overseas. I said, I just don’t see you doing, I do. You’re not a nine to five. I told him that like every day you’re not nine to five or 10. It’s see what you can do, buddy, in terms of that next level. And that’s awesome. It is super cool just by he’s flourishing but he has that, I mean that desire to be great.
And knew once he got there, he was going to seal the deal. I did. I knew he was going to do
Mike Klinzing: [01:10:23] it. Yeah. I think that’s one of those things where if you’re talking about guys that are in the NBA, obviously that there’s there’s players that get to the NBA that that maybe don’t have that maniacal work ethic, but they just are so unbelievably talented that.
Their talent allows them to be there despite maybe a lack of some of the intangibles that we might love as coaches, but for the most part 95% of those guys who were in the league there’s, there’s 150 other guys. There’s 300 others guys. There’s 500 other guys walking around with the same level of physical tools as them, but it’s just that mentality and that work ethic and that [01:11:00] maniacal desire to be great.
That’s what separates, why some guys make it and some guys don’t, and you could probably take that down from the NBA to who makes it the college level to who makes it as a high school player. And just again, that work ethic and that ability to put in the time that it takes, it reminds me of that Nick Saban quote, that if you want to be great, There really is no other answer.
It takes, it takes what it takes. And you’ve got to, you got to put the time in and you gotta really work at it in order to be successful. All right. Before we wrap up, Danny, I want to give you a one more question here. And it’s a two-parter and the first part of it is what is your biggest challenge? If you look out over the next year or two, what’s your biggest challenge that you’re facing.
And then number two, when you wake up in the morning and you know, you’re going to go into school and you’re getting an opportunity to coach your kids there at shaker Heights, what’s your biggest joy that you get from what you do on a day-to-day basis. So your biggest challenge and then your biggest joy.
Danny Young: [01:11:57] My biggest challenge is [01:12:00] staying very enthusiastic, keeping that passion for being a difference maker and my young men’s lives each and every day and trying to do the very best job I can to help them. Have the ability to be great students, great ambassadors for our shaker Heights community and being that role model to allow them to understand when much is given much is required.
And when you put on that Shaker Heights uniform, it’s more than basketball it’s being able to be a role model as a student athlete at the high school. Whereas the second, third and fourth graders are watching and, and, and, and they are expiring to become maybe a future writer and helping my guys understand that it’s bigger than basketball and they have to embrace that [01:13:00] responsibility.
And that challenge of doing what’s right. When no one’s watching some things I try to teach them is there’s a difference between character and reputation. Character is who you are when no one is watching reputation is who people think you are. And so a challenge for me is, and my staff is to on a daily basis, try to make sure we’re doing things that builds character more stuff than reputation
Mike Klinzing: [01:13:32] And your biggest joy?
Danny Young: [01:13:35] My biggest joy is that I’ve transitioned back into the job that gave me great fulfillment. Like I said, I’ve taught for about six years, and then I became a school counselor department chair, counselor at the middle school. I did that for like 12 years, and then I got encouraged and kind of got into administration and had a great run at that for 16, [01:14:00] but it just, it was kind of pulling me to kind of get back to what I really, really enjoy.
And I enjoy the process of helping kids. Like right now, a big piece of my job is helping seniors. You’re ready to apply for colleges and get into their first choice schools. A big piece of my job right now is helping juniors make plans academically. What’s our course selection for senior year, same process for 10th to 11th, nine to 10 and rising eighth graders who are going to be ninth graders.
And just having those conversations with parents, being that facilitator of information that can do it. Where if I don’t know the answer, I know how to go research and find it and get it to you. And hearing that kid kind of light up through. Just that maybe another little story about why it is that you have to take this class and how’s that helping the future and, and seeing the, the, the understanding occur in their eyes at [01:15:00] first, it’s frustrating.
Well, why didn’t I do it like that? I don’t want to do that. Like, I want to graduate early. Why I got to take seven classes just having and that conversation to get them understand the why behind, like I had a conversation today and the young lady just didn’t understand why she, it take seven classes that I thought I had all my credits.
I want to get out of here early and all that. And I kept, I was very patient and I wanted to explain it in a way that it was layman’s terms. And she understood the why. And I just kept driving the point home to her that I don’t want you to leave this room until you have your wife. I want you to understand.
And in some counselors I remember my counselor high school that they, they, they, they weren’t that patient like that. I mean, they weren’t giving us that motivation that you you’re the best and it could be the best. And here’s why you can be the best. So I just enjoy that process. I’m enjoying principal, Julie comes to me from time to time and says, Hey, man, I don’t know what you say to that kid, but I thought their parents and [01:16:00] hind ends and they are singing your praises.
You know what I mean? That just make, that just makes you go a little bit extra knowing that people are seeing the quality of your work. And when they see your boss, your principal at the local grocery store there, or at a PTO meeting, they’re telling him, Hey, my daughter came home, my son came home.
They had an interaction with any young and Oh my God, we love the fact that he’s our kids’ counselor. You know, that, that makes you feel good. You know what I mean? I have to be very honest with you. I loved being a principal. There were some great joys. And being a principal, but I gotta be honest with you.
You don’t get a lot of that in terms of yeah, no,
Mike Klinzing: [01:16:39] You’re not getting that much love. Yeah. You’re not getting that much love.
Danny Young: [01:16:43] You’re not getting that much love as a friend. You know what I mean? Like, like, like when it’s time to exit the building at the end of the school year, you see the teachers walking out with like mega bags of gifts in their students.
My bag, I get some, I [01:17:00] used to get some, I, I’m not gonna say that there, there are a few years where I was loaded up just as much as teachers, you know what I mean? But most of the time the teachers and those school counselors get that love because you’re in the front line you’re on the front line with those kids.
And, and so I’m really, really enjoying that process each and every day that enter that high school trying to be a difference maker.
Mike Klinzing: [01:17:23] Absolutely. That’s great stuff. And before we get out, Danny, I want to give you an opportunity to share how people can connect with you, whether that’s social media, email, website, whatever you want to share.
And then after you do that, I will jump back in and we’ll wrap things
Danny Young: [01:17:38] up. All right. If anybody wants to follow me I’m a Twitter guy. My Twitter handle is @DYoung42. And if you need to email me, my email address is DannyYoung42@gmail.com or young_h@firstname.lastname@example.org . So those are probably the two best ways that if you want to reach out and connect and, and have some [01:18:00] conversation around whatever we talked about or anything around education, Those were the two best ways to get in contact with me.
Mike Klinzing: [01:18:06] Danny, we cannot thank you enough for jumping on with us tonight.
It has been an absolute pleasure to get a chance to know you, to learn more about your program at Shaker, to learn more about you and what makes you tick and the impact that you’re having as a mentor to not only your basketball players, but the students that you come in contact every day in your role as an educator.
So for that I say, thank you. And to everyone, who’s a part of our audience. Thanks for listening tonight. And we will catch you on our next episode. Thanks.