Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Bill Young was fired Thursday, but said he was made aware that his job was in jeopardy more than 11 months ago and that he was being dismissed, in part, because of his age.
Young told the Tulsa World that he had a conversation with coach Mike Gundy last February where Gundy expressed concern that Young, 66, might be too old to engage recruits.
Young, 66, said he was told by Gundy in February that college football is a young man’s game “and I was the face of the defense and he thought my age would hurt recruiting and he thought players wouldn’t play for me.”
Young said he thought that was “nowhere near right.” He expressed those feelings to Gundy and they agreed to disagree. The result? It was determined the 2012 season would be Young’s last.
“We had a good discussion,” Young said, adding that he is not mad at Gundy. “I told him if he wouldn’t mind, please don’t put this (information) out there until I have time to finish the season and look for a new job. He agreed to that. He was very accommodating and was trying to help. It’s easier to get a job in this business if you have got one.”
Young said he didn't have any hard feelings toward Gundy or Oklahoma State, which probably means he won't be filing a lawsuit for age discrimination. He also acknowledged that his defense struggled at times this season.
The Cowboys’ defense struggled mightily this year. Even though it held three consecutive Big 12 opponents to fewer than 20 points for the first time since 1986, it also allowed 92 points and 1,233 total yards to Baylor and Oklahoma.
Young said it’s difficult to have a good defense in a system where the offense plays hurry up.
“In a hurry, hurry, hurry offense, you just play too many snaps,” he said.
Oklahoma State finished in the middle of the Big 12 in total defense and scoring defense. According to coachingsearch.com, of the top 25 teams in offensive plays, only Tulsa went on to win its conference. In the Big 12, West Virginia and Baylor, which were among the most offensively exciting teams in the league, were also two of the worst in the conference defensively.
But Young told the Tulsa World he isn’t one for excuses and he’s eager for another opportunity to show that despite his age, he can be one of the nation’s best defensive coaches.
“I’m not retiring,” he said. “I’m not a quitter. I feel like I can coach several more years.”
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