On March 9, Wheeling Park girls basketball coach Ryan Young found himself in the exact situation in which he’d been the year before.
His Patriots were again attempting to move on to the West Virginia State Championship. However, they again came up just short.
Young’s Patriots fell 42-39 to Buckhannon Upshur in the Class AAA state semifinals in the Charleston Civic Center. It was the second consecutive season in which the Wheeling Park girls hoops unit came just one win shy of the state championship game. He admitted that this season’s end was as difficult as the previous year’s conclusion, but Young maintains an impressively upbeat perspective.
He said this year’s team, his fourth as head coach, accomplished a lot. Young noted that the 2017-2018 Wheeling Park team finished with a solid 18-7 record. He said the team were runners up in the Ohio Valley Athletic Conference championship after winning the title the previous season. Young believes the Wheeling Park High School girls basketball program and its players are headed in the right direction.
“The future is bright for Wheeling Park High School girls basketball,” Young said. “It was a tough way to end the season two years in a row, but some people believe this year’s team may have overachieved. I couldn’t have been happier with the effort. I think that when the players look back on this season, they will look back on it positively.”
Young is a 1997 graduate of Wheeling Central Catholic High School, and he was a member of the school’s 1996 state championship basketball team. He earned his bachelor’s degree in secondary education with an emphasis in social studies in 2001 from Fairmont State University. Young earned his master’s degree in communications from West Virginia University in 2008, and he became a National Board Certified Teacher in 2013.
Young’s education career began in 2006 at Wheeling Middle School. He became a teacher at Wheeling Park High School in 2008, and he teaches U.S. honors history, economics and geography there today. Young said he always knew what he wanted to do professionally, and he finds the rewards of the classroom much like those of the hardwood.
“Teaching is as much fun as coaching, because my passion is working with young people,” Young said. “I knew going into college that I was going to be a teacher. I never changed my major. I love preparing my students for their future, and I love running into them later. I enjoy seeing where they are in life and knowing that I had something to do with it.”
Young lives in Wheeling with his wife Jaime and their daughters Leah and Maggie. The entire Young family is a part of Ohio County Schools as Leah and Maggie are students at Woodsdale Elementary School where Jamie is a first-grade teacher.
Young said education is frequent topic of conversation in his home. He said he and his wife have discussed the differences in teaching at their respective grade levels.
“She tells me that I could never do what she does,” Young said with a discernable laugh. “I may have to agree. She has so much patience to handle the constant needs of first graders. My students are really focused, so they are a pretty easy to teach.”
Young said he is quite happy at Wheeling Park High School. He said he expects another memorable season from the 2018-2019 Patriot girls basketball team. He also has expects achievement from his students after they’ve moved on from Wheeling Park High School.
“Park’s been a blessing for me,” Young said. “Teaching and coaching here is very rewarding. As a coach, I always think about winning and losing. But, what is most important about my job is preparing my students for life after high school.”
Photo 1: Wheeling Park Girls Basketball Coach Ryan Young is shown leading his team to a 59-49 victory of George Washington. Young just completed his fourth year as the team’s head coach with a second consecutive trip to the West Virginia semi-finals.
Photo 2: Young is shown with his wife Jamie and their daughters Leah, at left, and Maggie. Jamie is a first-grade teacher at Woodsdale Elementary School where both girls are students.