More than 100 Memorial High School parents and students joined high school coaches and district leaders on Aug. 6 to recall and honor Tina Young, a much loved and well respected former softball and volleyball coach.
|Memorial High Head Athletic Director Gary Koch lifting his hat in honor of Tina Young.|
Memorial High’s softball field will be known as the Tina Young Field after the community ceremony held on Wednesday evening at the playing field. Coach Young died after a 4-year battle with lung cancer. She was 47.
Coach Young was a Memorial High teacher and coach for a decade, and she served 25 years overall in education and coaching.
District Executive Director of Athletics Paige Hershey and Memorial High Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Gary Koch made dedication remarks, as did seven girls who were coached by Tina Young.
Her former players’ memories are poignant, funny, warm and all inspiring. (See student remarks below)
The Memorial High athletes and graduates who spoke included Leslie LeJune, Erin Rudd, Taylor Stewart, Blanche Schwabenland, Mackenzie Meador, Amy Houser and Brittany Chaney. Several special remarks shared at the field dedication include the following:
|Former students of Tina Young commenting on the time they spent with her in the Memorial softball program.|
Paige Hershey, SBISD Executive Director of Athletics
We are here to honor the spirit of someone that we all dearly loved and admired, so while there may be some tears, they are tears of thanksgiving that we had the chance to know a person of such passion, exuberance, dedication to her craft, great humor and self-assuredness about who she was and what she was about.
My comments will be brief because we have the opportunity to hear from those most important, Tina’s former students, who will share with us their thoughts and memories about their time with her. They are her legacy, and as such, all that she was about lives through them. That is why teaching is such an important and noble profession—the work that you dedicate your life to, the raising up of young adults is eternal work, it knows no bounds.
We have a banner with Tina’s name on it tonight, but very soon a sign will be placed above the scoreboard that will denote this as the Tina Young Field. There are benches that have been purchased that have been placed at this site and by the gym by Christi Rees. We want to think her for this wonderful gesture and means of remembering and honoring Tina.
I can tell you this. I was extraordinarily proud of the person and educator that Tina was. I can say without hesitation that she was one of the very best that we've ever had in our system. She is an example of who I wish all coaches could be—dedicated to their students, in love with what they do, a positive force to be reckoned with.
I will never forget this evening that we shared at the Memorial gym. What an example she was for us all that night and throughout her journey. What a gift she was to us, and what a gift this community was to her. That we could all be so fortunate to get to say the things that we want to say to the people who mean most to us as Tina got to do that night. Of course, there was a reason that gym was packed the way it was and that was because we loved who she was and she felt the same. Can there be anything more than to know what your life’s work is, to know where you belong, and to whom? Such is an indication of a life well-lived.
I think of Tina often and of the lessons embedded in our time with her. She reminded us that in the midst of great challenge and struggle, we can live life to the best, with exuberance, joy and gratitude for what is, even as we know our time on this earth grows to a close. Thanks to everyone who is here tonight, for all that you did for Tina, her family, our student-athletes, our coaches. We are left with love at the end, love, love, love, and so tonight is that, a way of honoring the legacy and memory of a extraordinary individual.
Blanche Schwabenland – 2010 Graduate and Memorial Drive Elementary fifth-grade teacher
I think back to high school. I think of softball and all the time I spent on this field. I am so thankful for the wonderful academics that Memorial provided me with, but I am most thankful for all of the life lessons I learned right here on the softball field. Coach Young was the greatest teacher I had at this school. She helped me improve my softball skills and turned me into a left-handed hitter and an outfielder, when I thought I was a power hitter and a shortstop. I thought she was crazy, but turns out she knew exactly what she was doing. A lot of the time she did things that I thought were crazy, but for some reason I always trusted her. I now understand that the reason it was so easy for me to trust her was because she had so much confidence in me. The way she believed in my teammates and me was incredible.
She has such a passion for others to be successful. Her way of loving and encouraging us was definitely unique, but she was always an inspiration. I want to do my best every day because she had so much invested in me and I didn't to let her or my teammates down. That’s another thing she was great at, making us a team. Yes, we were high school girls who had some differences but she always got us to see that the important part of life is forgiving and moving on to work together.
I am so blessed that I get to be a teacher in the Spring Branch ISD, and I am hoping that I can carry on Coach Young’s legacy by teaching my students to have a passion for life, to be kind to others, to know and appreciate the importance of community and to have confidence in themselves. I remember when I was getting into different colleges and told her that I was going to be a teacher. She just looked at me like I was crazy and said, “Why would you do a crazy thing like that?”
I’m so happy to be a teacher because I had such a wonderful role model and I hope to inspire and connect with as many staff, students, and family members as Coach Young did. She truly understood the importance of community, and I am so thankful that the community will now have such a wonderful place to always be reminded of the one and only Coach Young.
Leslie LeJune – 2008 Memorial High Graduate
Coach Young has made such an impact on all of our lives. She has gone above and beyond to earn the greatest respect of having this field dedicated in her name. She was passionate about everything she put her heart to, and specifically softball. This field was her home away from home and it could be seen every day with all of her enthusiasm.
But what most people haven’t witnessed is her as a spectator. She came to one of my collegiate games and sat next to my mom. Mistake number one. I thought my mom was loud, but Coach Young gave her a run for her money. My coaches and other parents were trying to figure out who this crazy lady was, and some even thought they were sisters.
But the one thing we have all taken away from her is her key phrase she said everyday: “Make good decisions,” and dedicating the field to her is the best decision we've ever made.
Brittany Chaney – 2008 Graduate and Frostwood Elementary first-grade teacher
My name is Brittany Chaney and I graduated in 2008. I had the honor of coming to this field every day for 4 years with the best coach I have ever known. She made me love the game of softball when I thought I was ready to quit and move on to other things. Don't get me wrong, she was tough but I believe that is what made our teams for the 4 years I was here so good and so successful.
Every day of practice Coach Young showed us what it means to be passionate about something. She's a huge reason why I went on to play college softball and I will always remember the day she surprised me in Austin by coming to one of my last collegiate softball games. I was in the outfield getting warmed up before the game, then as I was walking back to the dugout I saw her and her mom sitting in a lawn chair with her big hat on and tie-dye MHS softball shirt. I cried my eyes out when I saw her.
Later on I found out she had chemo that same morning and then drove all the way to Austin just to come see me play. Coach Young was also a huge reason why I became a teacher. Coach Young and I had a very fun relationship. It was a lot of making fun of each other, but mostly, I think, her making fun of me! I think I speak for all of my team mates and friends when I say she was a huge mentor to all of us.
She made sure we were all "making good decisions" whether it was on the field or off the field; she never forgot to remind us of that. A phrase that always comes to mind when I think of her is "What would Tina do?" There is no other person who deserves their name to be on this field than the woman who touched so many lives, and continues to watch over us on a daily basis. I really miss her!