Charles “Chip” Young was one of the top running backs in the WPIAL in the early 1960s, racking up yards, touchdowns and accolades, but his fondest memory of his playing days at Freeport was a team accomplishment.
The Yellowjackets won every regular season game in 1963, something that hadn’t been done there since Young’s late father, Charles, played for Freeport in 1931.
“Freeport had a lot of good teams, but there would always be a tie or a loss,” Young said. “Coincidentally, my father and I played the same position: tailback. It was really a proud moment.”
Young, a 1963 Freeport graduate, was an All-WPIAL and All-Allegheny Interscholastic Conference football player and went on to have a successful collegiate career at William & Mary for future Buffalo Bills coach and Pro Football Hall of Famer Marv Levy.
He is one of eight members of the 2018 Alle-Kiski Sports Hall of Fame class who will be inducted at the 49th annual banquet May 19 at the New Kensington Quality Inn.
Under the direction of legendary Freeport coach Bob King, Young blossomed during his junior season. As a senior, he was named Most Outstanding Back in the AIC and the WKPA’s Most Outstanding Player in 1963.
Young also played basketball and American Legion baseball for the late Sonny Westerman. He participated in track, where one of the more unique footnotes of his high school career occurred.
Sick with the measles the day of the AIC meet, Young borrowed his sister’s makeup kit to cover his rash and won the high jump.
“I don’t remember if it was my idea or her idea to use the makeup, but it was probably my idea, because if any of the coaches knew I had the measles they probably wouldn’t have let me compete,” Young said. “The track program at Freeport was just starting, so we weren’t too stellar. We only had a couple of representatives at the AIC championship, so I didn’t have much choice but to show up whether I had the measles or not.”
With the football awards piling up in his senior year, Young’s college offers were too. Pitt and Penn State showed interest, but the top school for Young was North Carolina. Bud Carson, a Freeport graduate, was the defensive coordinator for the Tar Heels. The newspapers reported Young along with local standouts Al Yates, Louis Pukal and Tim Karrs were signing with North Carolina.
Young played golf with Carson the afternoon prior to signing day and went to bed that night thinking he was going to sign with North Carolina, but that changed when he went downstairs the next morning and was greeted by William & Mary assistant coach Augie Tammariello.
“Augie was sitting at my kitchen table having coffee with my family, and my friend Al Yates was there,” Young said. “I asked Al what he was doing there, and he said he had picked him up at 6:30 and brought him to the house.
“William & Mary was the second choice for both of us. He wanted to go to Virginia, and I wanted to go to North Carolina. Al said why don’t we both go to William and Mary? So, we signed with Augie and the rest is history.”
Young moved to defensive back at William & Mary. At that time, William & Mary played Division I football in the Southern Conference with West Virginia and Virginia Tech, among others. The Tribe had several coaches at that time who moved onto the professional coaching ranks, starting with Levy. Future San Diego Chargers coach Bobby Ross was the offensive coordinator, and Larry Peccatiello was the defensive coordinator. Peccatiello went on to be the defensive coordinator for the Seattle Seahawks, Washingto Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals and Detroit Lions.
In his senior year, Young led Division I in interceptions and kick return yardage until a hamstring injury sidelined him for a couple games. He was named an All-Southern Conference first teamer and still ranks third in Tribe history in punt return average, fourth in punt return yards and tied for eighth in interceptions.
Like his high school years, his best moment in college was a team accomplishment: William & Mary’s 27-16 upset at heavily favored Navy in 1967. Young returned a punt 20 yards that setup the Tribe with good field position before they scored the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter. It is considered one of the top 10 upsets in college football history by Sports Illustrated.
Levy dedicated a chapter of his book, “Where Else Would You Rather Be?” to the 1967 team titled “The Overachievers.”
“We were always Navy’s homecoming game because they had beaten us for 30 straight years, but we beat them,” Young said. “We got them. That was a proud moment for us and a proud moment for Marv Levy. Marv considers that game one of his two favorite games that he coached in. The other one was when Buffalo came back to beat Houston in the (1993) wild card game.”
Young said he had an offer from the Denver Broncos to play professionally, but passed because he had an obligation to the ROTC. He served in the Vietnam War as a 1st Lieutenant.
Young resides in Mt. Lebanon and is retired. He has four sons: Brad, Brian, Brenden and Chip II. All four were high school lacrosse All-Americans and played in college. Young has been told that it’s the first time four members of the same family were lacrosse All-Americans in high school.
Brad played at Georgetown, Brenden went to Robert Morris and Chip II played at Maryland before transferring to Jacksonville.
Brian, like his father and grandfather, was a running back in high school. He led the WPIAL in rushing in 2001, his senior year. Brian went to Georgetown for lacrosse, but decided to transfer to Boston College to play football midway through his college career.
Jerin Steele is a freelance writer.