Brittany Young’s previous ambitions were not to become a head coach.
“I think if anyone were to ask me five years ago, or maybe even two years ago, if I had aspirations to become a head coach, my answer would’ve probably been a simple, but very emphatic no,” she said.
According to the newest leader of the APSU women’s basketball program, visionaries Gerald Harrison and Michael Licari — alongside a strong call to lead young student-athletes — changed her mind.
“I have learned that, in life, there are times and there are moments when you have to surrender to the strength of your purpose. I believe that there is great power in purpose: purpose is greater than fear, it is greater than anxieties, it’s greater than doubt and insecurities.
“I have been blessed with a beautiful gift, and that gift is that I have found my purpose and it is to inspire, uplift and to speak life and dreams into young people during such a critical period of their lives.”
Young was welcomed as Governors head coach on Friday, March 19, departing from a one-year position at Mississippi State. She replaces David Midlick, who’s contract was not renewed on March 8. Leading the Governors will be her first head coaching job at any level.
“From our first meetings and first conversations she talked about a lot of things, but nothing was more passionate in her voice, really, than when you hear her talk about building,” said Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison. “Building a program for long-term success, building young [women’s] success in the future as they go on in life and that connected with me.
“After our first conversation there were several more, and I knew early on that she was going to be the person that we wanted to be our head women’s basketball coach.”
During the interview process, Harrison said that he wasn’t looking to hire a head coach, but a CEO. Young said that knowing the program’s intentions were beyond the game itself made Clarksville ‘a perfect fit.’
The coach comes from a long lineage of legendary mentors. Her time as a graduate assistant at South Carolina helped to gain insight from Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Dawn Staley.
With 13-year head coach Lynn Bria’s staff at Stetson, she learned to gain a pulse for a team.
Former Old Dominion and now Bulldogs coach Nikki McCray-Penson allowed her to be recognized as one of the nation’s top recruiters and basketball minds. It was Penson’s mantra of ‘Culture over everything,’ that formulates the basis of Young’s program at APSU.
Discipline and passion for the game are building blocks for the coach’s culture, as the Govs look to make it past the first round of the Ohio Valley Conference Tournament — something that hasn’t been done since 2012.
But success won’t matter if her athletes exit the program unchanged.
“We want to be successful, that is our goal,” Young said. “If our student-athletes come here and they win championships, but they leave with nothing else, then we have failed them. I love that we’re looking to build them completely and wholly.
“As we embark on our journey, I can’t promise you all what the end result is going to be. I can’t look into the future and predict that, but what I can promise you is that everyday we will focus and we will fall in love with the process of becoming great. I think that if we do that every single day, the end results will take care of themselves.”