Sweet Home High School's Rob Younger to Receive 2007 Power of Influence Award

Rob Younger, Sweet Home (Ore.) High SchoolSweet Home (Ore.) High School Head Coach Rob Younger has been named the recipient of the 2007 Power of Influence Award. Younger was nominated for the award by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association. The award, which is presented jointly by the American Football Coaches Association and the American Football Coaches Foundation®, will be presented to Younger at the AFCA Coach of the Year Dinner on Wednesday, January 9, at the 2008 AFCA Convention in Anaheim, California.

The Power of Influence Award was created as a way for the AFCA and AFCF® to honor a deserving high school football coach for his effect on his players, school and community. This award is not based on wins and losses, however, it is noted that coaches of powerful influence have longevity and success. It is the first AFCA award specifically designed to honor a high school coach.

"The idea that I was selected by the state of Oregon is beyond belief, and then to win the national award is unthinkable to me," Younger said. "It just shows how blessed I am to live in a great community like Sweet Home and be constantly surrounded by great players and great assistant coaches - my best assistant coach being my wife, Karen."

Younger has coached football for 32 years. He started his career as an assistant coach in 1975 at Crescent Valley High School in Corvallis, Oregon. In 1980, Younger became the defensive coordinator at Sweet Home High School, holding that position until he was named head coach in 1988. During his 28 years at Sweet Home, Younger has also coached softball, basketball and baseball. He is currently a member of the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association, Oregon Schools Activities Association and the National Federation High School Coaches Association. Aside from his dedication to football, Coach Younger finds time to volunteer with the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance District and serves on the board at Sweet Home Community Chapel.

Younger has a 115-76 overall record in his 20 years as Sweet Home's head coach. Since becoming head coach in 1988, he has guided the Huskies to six Capital Conference championships and helped the team earn 16 trips to the state playoffs. If you include his eight years as defensive coordinator, Sweet Home has won a total of nine league titles and made the playoffs 22 times. In 1987, the Huskies won the 1987 Class 3A state championship with Younger as the defensive coordinator. Younger has earned many awards over his distinguished career as head coach. He was honored by the Oregon Athletic Coaches Association with the Contributor Award in 2005. He has also been named Capital Conference Coach of the Year eight times. In the Sweet Home community, Younger was recognized as the Sweet Home Fire & Ambulance Department's Rescue Member of the Year in 1991 and Engineer of the Year in 1987.

In a letter of recommendation, Barbara Weld, Athletic Secretary for Sweet Home High School, stated the following about Coach Younger's power of influence: "No matter where you go in Sweet Home, people know Rob Younger. Rob is very active in his church and respected in our community for his stand of high morals and good character. He is an excellent role model to students and adults alike, as he is willing to live what he expects from others."

The other finalists for this year's award were: George Smith, St. Thomas Aquinas H.S. (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.); William Sharpe, Jimtown H.S. (Elkhart, Ind.); Mike Mahlen, Verndale H.S. (Verndale, Minn.); Tom Brown, Maiden H.S. (Maiden, N.C.); Jerry Miller, Montrose H.S. (Montrose, S.D.); Hugh Sandifer, Wylie H.S. (Abilene, Texas); Phil Ottney, Glenwood City Schools (Glenwood City, Wis.); Joel Eskelson, Big Piney H.S. (Big Piney, Wyo.).

Past Power of Influence Award recipients include: Larry Dippel, Amarillo (Texas) H.S. (2002); John McKissick, Summerville (S.C.) H.S. (2003); Marcus Borden, East Brunswick (N.J.) H.S. (2004); Ron Stolski, Brainerd (Minn.) H.S. (2005); and Sid Otton, Tumwater (Wash.) H.S. (2006).

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“Coach George Smith is not only an influence on young people, but the influence is multiplied many times in the beliefs of the young people he helped mold into amazing human beings. George is an outstanding coach, but more importantly, he is an outstanding gentleman.” —Tina Jones, Principal of St. Thomas Aquinas High School