Bill Young, a 38-year coaching veteran with 20 seasons as a defensive coordinator, enters his sixth season as defensive coordinator and defensive line coach at Kansas. Young joined the Kansas staff in December 2002 after serving as defensive line coach with the Detroit Lions in 2001.
The 2006 season was another banner year for the Jayhawk defense under Young's guidance. The unit finished third in the Big 12 and 28th in the nation in rushing defense (109.0 yards per game), as it held four opponents to under 70 yards of rushing and limited all opponents to a fourth-down conversion rate of less than 25 percent.
In 2005, Young oversaw the development of a defense which finished the season as the top run-stopping unit in the Big 12 and eighth among all NCAA I teams. In nine of KU's 12 games during the 2005 season, the opposition's run-game failed to collect 100 yards rushing as a team. After KU's win over Missouri on Oct. 29, Young was awarded the Master Coaches Survey game ball and was named Coordinator of the Week by Rivals.com.
In 2004, Young directed a much-improved defense that led the Big 12 with 27 takeaways, including a league-best 19 interceptions. Cornerback Charles Gordon, in his first full season under Young's tutelage, tied for the national lead with seven picks. In addition, the defense allowed an average of 117.6 rushing yards per game -- the third-best single-season average in school history at the time and the lowest since 1961. The biggest improvement in the overall defense occurred on third downs, as the opposition converted just 29.9 percent of its chances -- only two Big 12 teams in 2004 were more effective at forcing fourth down.
Prior to his stint in the NFL, Young worked three seasons as defensive coordinator at Southern California. While at USC in 1999, his defense led the nation in total takeaways and topped the conference in rushing defense and turnover margin (third nationally). His USC defense in 1998 was number one in the Pac-10 in total defense, pass efficiency defense (third nationally) and scoring defense. It was also ranked second in the country in forced turnovers.
In addition to his three years at USC, his stints as defensive coordinator came at Tulsa in 1983-84, Ohio State from 1988-95 and Oklahoma in 1996-97. Much of Young's coaching career (1980-95) was spent assisting former Kansas assistant and former Ohio State head coach, John Cooper.
Their association began in 1980 at Tulsa, where Young was hired as defensive line coach and was promoted to defensive coordinator three years later. He moved with Cooper to Arizona State, where he was the Sun Devils' defensive line coach from 1985-87 before following Cooper to Ohio State in 1988, where he led the Buckeyes' defense for eight seasons before taking over the defense at Oklahoma.
Young's first two coaching assignments came at his alma mater, Oklahoma State, from 1976-78 and for one season as Iowa State's defensive tackles coach in 1979.
Young played outside linebacker and defensive end at Oklahoma State from 1965-67, and led the Cowboys in interceptions in 1965.
During his 27 years in college coaching, Young has helped elevate 31 players to the NFL, including seven players apiece during his stints at Ohio State, Arizona State and Tulsa, and five apiece while at Oklahoma State and Oklahoma.
Among future NFL players he helped coach are Dexter Manley (Oklahoma State), Dan Saleumua and Trace Armstrong (Arizona State), Alonzo Spellman, Dan Wilkinson and Mike Vrabel (Ohio State), Barron Tanner and Kelly Gregg (Oklahoma), David McMillan and Charlton Keith (Kansas).
Prior to his college coaching career, Young spent six seasons on the prep level at two high schools in Oklahoma. Young, who played linebacker at Oklahoma State from 1965-67, was an academic all-Big Eight selection as a senior in 1967 and earned his bachelor's degree in education that year. He then went on to earn his master's degree in secondary education at Central Oklahoma in 1971.
Young and his wife, Lawana, reside in Lawrence.