Remembering Wilbur E. Young, Jr

Wilbur Young

Wilbur Young

William Penn University said good-bye to one of its many distinguished alumni this month with the passing of Wilbur E. Young, Jr. Young, who was born on April 20, 1949 to Wilbur and Helen Young in New York, New York, passed away on Saturday, July 5, 2014. He was raised in the Bronx and attended James Monroe High School where he began to play football. His high school football activities lead him to a football scholarship at William Penn College in Oskaloosa, Iowa.

He played all four years at college as a member of one of the greatest teams in program history. He graduated from William Penn College in May 1971 with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. As a Statesman, Young was a two-time 1st Team All-Conference defensive tackle. His performance earned him recognition at the national level when he was named National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) All-American in 1969 and 1970. He went on to play in the College All-Star game in Chicago in 1971. Young was inducted into the William Penn Athletic Hall of Fame in 1985 for his accomplishments in football as well as record-setting performances in the shot put for the track and field program.

William Penn University Vice President of Operations, Greg Hafner ‘73, shared memories his former teammate. “Wilbur had a great impact on all of those around him, both on and off the football field. He was unassuming, yet everyone looked to him for leadership. As a player his physical presence was truly intimidating. He was 6’7” tall and weighed over 300 pounds and was as good as he wanted to be. It was an honor for me to know him and to play with him for two years.”

Wilbur’s professional athletic career began immediately after graduation when he was selected by the Kansas City Chiefs as the 39th overall pick in the second round in the 1971 National Football League (NFL) Draft. He played as a defensive tackle for the Chiefs from 1971 to 1977. He then went on to play for the San Diego Chargers from 1978 to 1980. He began the 1981 season with the Chargers and then briefly played with the Washington Redskins before returning to San Diego for the 1982 season. Then in 1984, he played for the Arizona Wranglers.

In 1979, Wilbur was named 1st Team All-Conference member of the NFL All-Pro team along with several of his teammates including Dan Fouts and John Jefferson.

Wilbur made Charlottesville, Virginia his permanent residence for the last seventeen years. He had a passion for working with young people and sports. He worked at several homes for wayward boys and challenged adults, coached high school sports and worked in the customer service industry.

At the high school level, he was an Assistant Coach in Football and Track (shot put) at Monticello High School. As an Assistant Coach in football, he helped lead the football team to their first State Championship appearance in 2003 and first State Championship victory in 2007. Wilbur returned to William Penn University for the 2013–2014 school year to become an Assistant Coach of Football and Track.

William Penn University President John Ottosson said of Young, “It was an honor to have Wilbur back on campus this fall as a volunteer coach. His willingness to do this is an indicator of his desire to help mold the lives of young adults as it also demonstrated his love for his alma mater. His passing is a loss to the William Penn family. His impact as a Statesman is obvious by the number of people in Oskaloosa who still talk about his playing days at Penn and for the gentle giant he was off the field. He will be missed by all of us.”

Memorials can be sent in the name of Wilbur E. Young, Jr. to: Monticello High School, 1400 Independence Way, Charlottesville, Virginia 22902 or William Penn University, 201 Trueblood Avenue, Oskaloosa, Iowa 52577.

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