|Frank Young 2012 HOF|
Frank Young was the son of a boxer who turned an early passion into a lifelong dedication.
Young and his family emigrated from Ireland in 1924, when Frank was 10 years old. The family moved to a farm at Michigan, N.D. His father, William, was a well-known middleweight contender in Portaferry, Ireland, so Frank and his brothers were well-educated in the art of pugilism by the time he graduated valedictorian from Michigan High School in 1933.
Young earned his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Jamestown College in 1937. His boxing know-how came in handy when he enlisted in the Navy during World War II. During his service, he acted as an athletics instructor for the Navy and later on in his life, was invited to travel to Okinawa and Tokyo to present boxing clinics to American Armed Forces stationed there.
A well-known boxing mind, Young was regularly consulted as an expert after prominent boxing matches of the time, according to his daughter, Molly Wells.
“He was considered ‘the authority on boxing,’ ” Wells says. “After we would listen to the professional matches on the radio, the phone would start ringing with people wanting to know, ‘What do you think of the fight?’ ”
A passion for education and teaching stayed with Young after his return home. He earned his master’s degree in education from the University of Oregon in 1947 and returned home to North Dakota as a high school teacher and an instructor at North Dakota’s Minot State College.
His teaching and boxing backgrounds intersected in 1947 when he accepted an assistant professor position with the University of Idaho’s Physical Education department. He accepted a role as assistant boxing coach in his first year at Idaho and one year later, was promoted to head boxing coach.
Wells said that in addition to his talents in and around the boxing ring and his teaching experience, her father was a skilled builder and an inventor who submitted several patents.
“We moved into the ‘Vets Village,’ which is where the Rosauers parking lot now sits,” Wells said of the family’s first trip into Moscow. “Dad was very handy building things and since we didn’t have any furniture to speak of, he just built what we needed.”
That wasn’t the only thing Young built. In his first year as an assistant, he helped Laune Erickson win the NCAA title at 175 pounds and Herb Carlson win his first of three-consecutive NCAA individual boxing titles. Carlson was one of three Vandals, along with two-time champion Leonard Walker and 1952 champion Frank Echevarria, to claim individual national crowns during Young’s tenure as head coach from 1948-54. All four are charter members of the Vandal Athletics Hall of Fame.
The Vandal men shared the 1950 NCAA team title and added three Pacific Coast Conference team titles to go along with 11 individual PCC crowns. Idaho’s boxing program remained one of the nation’s elite until 1954, when the Idaho discontinued the sport.
It’s easy to get caught up in the athletic aspect of Frank Young’s Idaho career, but in reality, that’s just one part. He was promoted to Professor of Physical Education in 1950. That same year, he took over an administrative role as Manager of Athletics. At the conclusion of his coaching career in 1954, Young was promoted to Assistant Athletics Director and he held that post until 1960. He was the executive secretary of the Vandal Boosters from 1952-60
For the next 17 years, Young served as the University of Idaho Director of Admissions and was instrumental in creating the Idaho Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (IACRAO), and was selected as president of the Pacific Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (PACRAO) in 1976. He traveled throughout the state and the region to recruit an entire generation of Vandals, and worked diligently to make sure their needs were met.
The team championships, individual accolades and recognition from his time leading Vandal boxing set Frank Young apart in Idaho history. His 30 years as a coach, professor, administrator and leader set him in a category all his own at the University of Idaho.