Michelle Young is entering her 19th season at the helm of the Furman volleyball program in the fall of 2018.
Young led the Paladins in a complete turnaround following a disappointing 2016 season, finishing 2017 at 21-10 and 14-2 in SoCon play, good for the Paladins' fourth regular-season championship (third under Young). She also picked up her fifth SoCon Coach of the Year honor.
She steered the Paladins to a 23-7 overall record, 14-2 Southern Conference mark and regular season championship in 2014, while leading the Paladins to a conference tournament championship and NCAA Tournament appearance in 2015.
Young recorded back-to-back coach of the year honors in 2013 and 2014, while leading her team to a SoCon semifinal appearance in 2013 and championship appearance in 2014.
After a third-place finish in the South Division, Young guided the Paladins to a 2012 Southern Conference tournament championship appearance, before falling to College of Charleston in their last season with the SoCon.
She picked up her 200th win and improved her career record at Furman to 205-141 after a 17-12 campaign in 2010, making her the winningest coach in Paladin volleyball history.
Young led the team to a 19-match winning streak and a perfect 16-0 regular season mark in the Southern Conference during the 2009 season. For her efforts, she was chosen the 2009 Southern Conference Coach of the Year, an honor she also received in 2006. Furman also put together a 19-match winning streak during the 2009 season, the longest in Paladin volleyball history, and was undefeated in regular season league competition for the first time in Furman history.
The team’s 26 wins were the most for a Paladin volleyball team since 1996, when Furman also posted 26 wins. The Paladins earned a 49th place RPI rating, the highest in the history of Furman volleyball, and were the top rated SoCon team in the poll.
Young’s progress in taking the team to a higher level began in 2008, when she led the Paladins to the Southern Conference Tournament title and first-ever NCAA Tournament appearance. After the successful season, Young was honored as Furman’s J. Lyles Alley Coach of the Year.
Already the Paladins have grown accustomed to residing near the top of the Southern Conference standings. Throughout her career, Young has amassed a 218-92 record against league opponents, giving her a .703 winning percentage in the Southern Conference.
She attributes the Paladins’ success in the league to the team’s rigorous non-conference schedule. Under her direction, Furman has had its first win against a Big 12 opponent with a 3-2 win over Colorado in 2007. The Paladins also recorded their first win over Clemson the same season. During the 2011 season, Furman notched a 3-1 victory over Wisconsin, the first win over a Big 10 opponent by any SoCon volleyball team. In 2012, the Paladins defeated two ACC opponents (Clemson, Wake Forest) in the same season for the first time in program history. Furman’s win over Clemson was the Paladins’ first over the Tigers in Greenville in the history of the series. Furman then tallied comeback, five-set wins over Clemson and South Carolina in 2014, before defeating Gonzaga later in the year.
Young’s athletes have tallied three league Player of the Year awards, three league Freshmen of the Year awards, 34 all-conference selections, 18 All-Southern Conference Tournament scrolls, one Southern Conference Tournament MVP, 41 Player of the Week plaques, five Southern Conference Player of the Month honors, 74 conference academic honor roll selections, and three Academic All-District III choices.
Young took over the Furman volleyball program as a 23-year-old in 1999 after spending just one year as an assistant coach for the Paladins. In her first year as the head coach, the team won 15 league matches, the most in school history, establishing Young’s position as one of the top young coaches in the sport.
She took on the project of moving the Furman volleyball program from Timmons Arena to its home at Alley Gymnasium in the summer of 2005, making Furman the only program in the Southern Conference with a volleyball-specific complex. Since moving into Alley Gymnasium, the Paladins have won 53 of their 68 home matches.
A 1998 graduate of Clemson University with a degree in industrial education, Young was a four-year letterwinner at setter for the Tigers. She holds the Clemson record for single- season assists, with 1,561, and the career mark, with 4,305. In addition, she was selected Most Valuable Player at the 1997 ACC Tournament after leading the Tigers to the league title and the second NCAA Tournament of her tenure. Young also was lauded as second-team All-ACC in 1995 and was named to the 1995 AVCA All-District Team. In addition, in 2002 Young was named to the ACC’s 50th anniversary volleyball squad.
Young has a passion for building youth interest in the sport of volleyball. For the last ten summers she has hosted the Michelle Young volleyball camp on the campus of Furman University. Under her direction, the Furman volleyball program has added numerous youth classes and position clinics.
Young is a member of the American Volleyball Coaches Association (AVCA).
A native of Chatfield, Minn., the former Michelle Thieke was married to Will Young on June 27, 1998. The couple has three children: Brody, Bailey, and Bella.