It may only be a number, but for Boyertown High boys soccer coach Scott Didyoung, the number 300 took on a lot of meaning for him. Earlier this season his team won its 300th win with him as Didyoung as head coach. He has been at the helm of the boys soccer team for 25 years, and his teams have accomplished a lot during his reign - including a PAC-10 title this season.
In addition, he won five more games to pass Mike Moyer (Wilson, Fleetwood, Exeter) for second place for career high school boys soccer wins in Berks County. First place will be quite a challenge for Didyoung. Fleetwood coach Ray Buss tallied 515 wins in his career.
“That was two nice things to have happen this year that the kids could earn my 300th win for me,” said Coach Didyoung.
Coach Didyoung realizes the meaning of getting his 300th, but if it were up to him, nobody needed to make too much of a fuss about it. The players’ parents gave him a nice celebration, which included former Athletic director Fred Endy, who hired him as the soccer coach when Lou Brooks retired.
Didyoung received congratulations from other coaches in the area, and also received a nice note from his cousin ,Tony Didyoung, a soccer coach himself, congratulating him on his feat.
“It (the 300th win) was something that I was personally aware of because we keep all the historical information about the program in the program at the end of the season banquet.
To have his cousin Tony send him something meant a lot to Didyoung. As a young kid, he would go watch Tony play at Fleetwood High School He remembers going to Shippensburg to watch them play in the state finals one year. According to Didyoung, his friendship with Tony has always been a professional one.
“He’s a tremendous coach in Berks County and I don’t think there are many coaches who could coach as well as he can,” said Didyoung. “I felt bad when he left the game because he’s sadly missed. He’s a good friend, a good colleague and a good guy. He and I have the right principals, the right concept of sportsmanship. The only thing that you can really say about Tony is that he’s such a good guy and a good coach, and no one can take that away from him. That meant a lot to me to get a note from him. It has its special place because of the respect we have for each other.”
One of the things that make Didyoung such a special coach is that he believes coaching high school soccer is much more than x’s and o’s and teaching the kids the game of soccer. He believes that part of his job is to help his team mentally as well as physically. He’s there to teach them soccer, but he also teaches them to believe in themselves.
“A lot of the time the boys don’t believe in themselves and you have to keep telling them, and tell them over and over again that they’re good enough,” said Didyoung. “They are among the best teams in the state and they can win against anyone on any given day. Sometimes, that’s not believable for them, but they’re good kids and they’ve been working hard. They always do their best. That’s why I don’t like the recognition because it’s about the kids. The whole program is about the kids. Each year they write the story that they get to remember for the rest of their lives.”
When he first started coaching, Didyoung never imagined that he would have gotten this many wins in his coaching career.
“I couldn’t see beyond the end of each year,” said Didyoung. “I knew that I wanted to work my hardest to prove that I belong at that level of coaching. So my philosophy has been to work harder than the next guy and my belief has always been that every day is an opportunity to learn something new. That’s very important to me.
“So when I first started, I worked very hard. I went and got my licenses and I got the highest licenses that you could possibly get. I studied film, I talked with coaches from around the world, I emailed coaches and I built friendships and relationships with coaches all over the world. Some have even come over the years and have run camps for my teams over the years. My kids have gotten to see some famous soccer players over the years.”
Coach Didyoung will admit that he does have some regrets. Number one is the time that coaching takes him away from his family. But despite that, he simply loves to coach.
“I love the game, I love to coach the game and I love coaching the kids,” said Didyoung. “I’m not the same coach that I was when I first started. Over the years, my coaching style has changed and developed because of the change of the kids. That’s something that a coach needs to be able to do. Adjust to the players and adjust to the time. If you don’t adjust, if you don’t grow you’re not going to be around very long.”
With all that he’s accomplished, some may wonder what’s next for Coach Didyoung. After some thought, he answered to pass the torch (as he was laughing) to someone who will love the program like he did. He’s not sure when that will be yet, he hasn’t made that deision. He will definitely be back next year, but he takes it one year at a time.
“As long as I have my health, which is very important, I can continue to coach,” said Didyoung. “There will come a time in the near future when I will need to pass on the torch to allow someone else that opportunity to continue with the program.”
Phil Haddad is a free lance writer for the Times. You can follow him on twitter @writersprtsBT