Tom Young, who led Rutgers to the Final Four, has died aged 89

Tom Young, the most successful coach in Rutgers men’s basketball history, died Sunday, the school confirmed. He was 89.

Young went 239-116 with four NCAA tournament appearances and five conference titles from 1973-85. Crowning it all, the program made its first and only appearance in the Final Four in 1976. Rutgers lost to Michigan in the national semifinals and then to UCLA in the now-ended third-place playoff, while Indiana ended the last undefeated season in the sport.

Tom YoungRutgers
Tom Young talks to his Rutgers team during practice ahead of the 1976 Final Four in Philadelphia.

Young coached six players who went on to have significant stints in the NBA, including Final Four teammates Eddie Jordan, Phil Sellers, James Bailey and Hollis Copeland, and later Roy Hinson and John Battle. Young’s death hit Jordan, a longtime NBA coach and former Rutgers head coach.

“It’s pretty hard to take,” Jordan told Asbury Park Press, which first reported Young’s death. “I loved him like a father.”

According to the report, Young struggled with heart and lung conditions, but the cause of death was unknown. He joined Rutgers after serving as a head coach at American University and later at Old Dominion University until 1991.

Tom YoungRutgers
Tom Young in January 1975.

Rutgers’ victory in the first round of the 1983 NCAA tournament was the last until the Scarlet Knights defeated Clemson in the first round of the 2021 bracket. Rutgers lost to Notre Dame in the First Four last week, earning offers for the Big Dance in consecutive seasons for the first time since Young’s second and third years on the job. Young had winning records in all 12 seasons with Rutgers. Tom Young, who led Rutgers to the Final Four, has died aged 89


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