Ardmore men’s basketball lost a key member of its family recently.

Ardmore men’s basketball lost a key member of its family recently.

Coach Ted Younts entered into eternal rest on Oct. 12 after a long battle with pancreatic cancer. On Saturday, Oct. 20, at Heritage Hall, in Ardmore, friends, family and former players gathered in a celebration of life for coach Younts.

Former Ardmoreite Sports editor Mark Finley remembers the buzz that surrounded the city during the early 90’s while Younts was leading the Ardmore Tigers.

“He was a winner for one thing and demanded excellence from his players, and he got that,” Finley said. “He brought a winning attitude not only to the school, but to the town.

Younts was born in Ada, in 1949, to Phyllis and Vernon Younts, Jr. He graduated from Stonewall High School and East Central University where he played baseball and basketball. Younts took his first coaching gig at the age of 22, at Butner. After a brief stint at Butner, Younts took his next job at the now-closed Graham High School. While at Graham, Younts led the Bearcats to the state finals five times, finishing as a runner up each time.

After nine years in Graham, Younts took over the Ardmore Tigers men’s basketball program in 1982, and led the Tigers to the playoffs in 14 of his 19 seasons at the helm. In 1993, after years of finishing as runner up in the finals numerous times, Younts finally reached the pinnacle and led the Tigers to their first state championship in men’s basketball. The Tigers would repeat as champions in 1994, their only other men’s state championship in program history. 

Tiger alumni and former player Harold Brown, from the class of 1990, remembers the impact Coach Younts made on him as a young player.

“He meant a lot because he made you believe that you could do anything when you got into the basketball gym,” Brown said. “No matter who you were facing he made you believe you could beat them. As long as you worked hard, put in the work, good things would come.”

Younts left the Tigers following the 2001 season, and headed south to Boswell, Texas, where he coached for 10 more seasons before retiring from coaching and taking a position as an athletic administrator. 

Younts was inducted into the Oklahoma Basketball Association Hall of Fame in 2002 and in 2012 he was inducted into the OCA Hall of Fame.

Former Byng head coach Alan Simpson said when you played against Coach Younts you always had to be prepared.

“When I played Ted I always made sure I had an extra bullet in the chamber for a “comeback quip. The only thing is it was hard enough to find a way to win, but it was impossible to out-quip him,” Simpson said. “In the Ardmore Tournament, my Byng team had almost pulled even late in the game, and my post-player fouled out. I’m looking down my bench trying to decide who to put in the game when Ted goes down to the end of his bench, pulls up a little guy and yells, ‘Hey, Alan, you can borrow this one.’ Laughter erupted. There was only one Ted Younts.”

No matter the situation, Coach Younts will always be remembered for his love of coaching and his competitive attitude from everyone he matched up against. 

“What a competitor, what a fighter,” Simpson said. “He was not a loser versus cancer, he just ran out of time.”

Younts is survived by his wife of 45 years, Pam and his daughter Amanda.