The relationship between coaches and their players. It goes beyond the gymnasium, the field, or the diamond. In fact, that special connection can extend throughout an entire LIFE. Today, the time machine witnesses just such an occurrence as former East Canton basketball coach Joe Pangrazio and his former player Jimmy Young join us in the studio.
It’s 1987 and Jimmy Young is a high school kid like any other: he’s not a bad kid by any means but also not one that has a sense of direction either. Add in an aversion to authority and a the wrong kind of peer group and, like so many kids out there, you have a recipe for disaster. Enter Coach P. Sometimes, despite their best intentions, for some reason a kid just needs MORE than their parents – someone who believes in them and TELLS them so in no uncertain terms. Jimmy credits Coach Pangrazio as that person in his life. When coach sought Jimmy out and told him he wanted him on his team, it made all the difference to a kid who didn’t know it but needed to hear exactly THAT. Jimmy took Coach P. up on that offer and joined a team that included Chris Kline, Bryan Shephard, Chris Kopp, Jerry Harris, and Harold Fisher.
Two varsity seasons later as one of the team’s leading scorers and rebounders, Jimmy is off to college to earn a degree in criminal justice at Kent State and on his way to a ten year career as a social worker guiding kids himself. Now a special education teacher at Alliance high school and working toward becoming a school counselor, it’s been 25 years since that fateful meeting and Coach P. and Jimmy still talk all the time.
It’s said that “it takes a village” but, sometimes, one person extending themselves – one SINGLE person – can make that EXTRA difference. And that extra difference? Well sometimes that can make all the difference in the world.