During Chris Young’s high school basketball career at Brighton High School, he always wanted to be a coach.
“I looked at the coaches and thought I wanted to be a coach,” said the 25-year-old Young, who graduated from Brighton in 2015 after a four-year career as a shooting guard. “It was always a goal of mine.”
That goal became a reality on March 13 when he was hired as Brighton’s new boys’ basketball coach, replacing Stan Gatlin, who had been in the position for nine years.
Young, who will be a high school coach for the first time, was the associate head coach at Brighton Middle School for the last three seasons. When he was just 20 he started an AAU traveling basketball team called Wildcat Nation. It primarily included players from Tipton County, so he clearly knows the local landscape of young players.
He takes over the Brighton basketball program at an interesting time. Gatlin is the all-time winningest coach at Brighton. Gatlin won multiple district titles and made it to the sectionals in 2017. That season ended with a loss to a Penny Hardaway-coached Memphis East team that went on to win the state title. Last season’s highlight was a win over Haywood, the state’s top-ranked team.
However, the program struggled the last few seasons. Brighton when 4-18 during the 2021-22 season and 8-16 this past season. The Cardinals went 11-6 during the COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, 13-17 in 2019-20 and 12-15 the season before that.
Young said his immediate goal is to get the team to at least a .500 season and take it from there.
“The last couple of years Brighton hasn’t been competing on an average level,” Young said. “We just want to get better as the days go by.”
Young, who owns a Tipton County-based trucking company and will be a non-faculty coach, said he’s had some one-on-one meetings with players in recent days and will further those relationships in the coming weeks and months.
As for his style of coaching, Young offered this: “We’re going to have a lot of young, athletic guys. We’re going to get up and run a lot with a lot of press defenses.”