Keith Young, a three-time NCAA and national AAU wrestling champion at Iowa State Teachers College (now University of Northern Iowa), died Sunday in Cedar Falls, Iowa. He was 81.
Young also coached high school wrestling in Iowa and Minnesota for more than three decades.
Keith Fay Young was born on September 29, 1929, in Algona, Iowa. He did not start wrestling until his senior year at Algona High School, but that did not prevent him from achieving greatness on the mat beyond his prep career.
Wrestling for the ISTC Panthers, Young followed in the footsteps of the legendary Bill Koll (father of Cornell University head coach Rob Koll), making his mark on college wrestling. Young was undefeated at 145 pounds, winning NCAA and national AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) titles in 1949, 1950 and 1951. He was a key component of ISTC winning the team title at the 1950 NCAAs held in their home gym.
After graduating from ISTC, Young launched a prep coaching career that spanned 32 years. His first coaching assignment was at Blue Earth High School in Minnesota, where he led his team to a state title in his second year at the helm. Young then came to Osage High School in Iowa for one year. In 1955, he became head coach at Cedar Falls High, where he took his teams to two Iowa state titles in 1968 and 1976, along with two runner-up finishes. He retired in 1984.
Young compiled an overall record of 243-128-12 as a high school coach in both states.
Young shared his knowledge and passion for the sport as an official of high school and college matches.
Coach Young’s legacy lives on. Each December, Cedar Falls High hosts the Keith Young Invitational, a significant high school tournament.
In 1979, Young was welcomed into both the Iowa Wrestling Hall of Fame in Cresco, and the National Wrestling Hall of Fame as a Distinguished Member.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
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