HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — Jay Young joked that among the exciting aspects of the head coaching job at Fairfield, he’s now two hours closer to Fenway Park and his beloved Boston Red Sox.
The Massachusetts native, who was Steve Pikiell’s top assistant at Rutgers the past three seasons, was hired Wednesday for his first Division I head coaching job.
He replaces Sydney Johnson, who was fired from Fairfield last month after a 9-22 season and a 116-147 record over eight seasons.
Young is a former head coach at Division II New Haven. He said, in all seriousness, that heading back to Connecticut and New England made this an attractive job.
“It was a perfect fit for a lot of reasons, but geographically was certainly one of them,” he said. “I’ve recruited here, worked here, lived here. Honestly, it just checked off so many boxes that I was hoping this would be the one and I’m fortunate that it was.”
Young has been a college coach for 32 years and spent the last 14 seasons as an assistant under Pikiell, first at Stony Brook and then at Rutgers.
“He prepared me for this,” Young said. “I had the best seat in the country for the last 14 years, watching a guy work tirelessly changing the direction and transforming two basketball programs.”
Young describes himself as a defensive-minded coach and his focus will be on that end of the court, especially rebounding. He told his players Wednesday that their goal will be to play meaningful games each March.
But he hopes fans understand it’s a building process and they may need some patience.
“We want to make sure that just every day we advance the program,” he said. “Of course, I’m saying be patient and I’m already complaining about the Red Sox bad start. So, I know.”
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