Key figure in Alabama recruiting scandal murdered

BY WOODY BAIRD

The Associated Press

MEMPHIS – An Alabama booster convicted of bribing a high school coach to get a top recruit for the Crimson Tide was killed in his home after a fierce, bloody struggle, police said Tuesday.

Police had not confirmed the body was that of Logan Young, but his defense attorney said it was the 65-year-old Memphis resident.

Police were not sure how he was killed, but investigators found “a lot of blood,” police Sgt. Vince Higgins said.

“The nature of the attack was brutal,” Higgins said. “The entire house is a crime scene.”

Higgins said there were signs of a struggle in the house, a two-story stone Tudor home in one of Memphis' most exclusive country club neighborhoods.

Investigators don't know a motive or if the attack was related to Young's federal conviction, Higgins said. Police haven't determined how his home was entered or how many attackers there might have been.

While police waited for fingerprints and dental records to identify the body, Nashville defense attorney Jim Neal confirmed the victim was Young.

“I've had two or three calls about it, all to the same end, found killed in his home. … I heard that there was blood everywhere,” Neal said.

Higgins said Young's housekeeper found the body after she arrived for work Tuesday morning, and the pool boy told police he saw Young as he was leaving the house late Monday.

“All we can tell is (the killing) happened sometime overnight – late night or early morning,” Higgins said.

Memphis police said there had not been any recent police calls to Young's address before his body was found.

Young was free pending appeal of his 2005 conviction on money laundering and racketeering conspiracy charges in a federal case involving the recruiting of defensive lineman Albert Means.

Young was sentenced last June to six months in prison, plus six months' home confinement, then two years' supervised release.

His attorneys had argued against any jail time because Young needed a kidney transplant and could not get proper medical care in prison. Final briefs in his appeal were to be filed July 14, according to court records.

Young was the son of a wealthy businessman in Osceola, Ark., and was never a student at Alabama, but he was widely known as the Crimson Tide's most influential booster in Memphis.

He claimed to be a friend of Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant and was the original owner of the Memphis Showboats of the USFL in the early '80s.

But last year he became one of the first college football boosters ever to be sentenced to federal prison for recruiting violations.

Former high school coach Lynn Lang, who avoided jail time after pleading guilty to taking part in a racketeering conspiracy, testified against Young, saying the booster paid $150,000 to get Means to sign with Alabama in 2000.

The NCAA has said it believed Means was unaware his football talents were being brokered. The player later transferred to Memphis, where he finished his college career.

Lang testified at Young's trial that other universities, including Georgia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Memphis, Ole Miss, Michigan State and Tennessee, offered him money or jobs to get Means.

No charges were filed against anyone with those schools.

Means' recruitment became part of an NCAA investigation that led to sanctions against Alabama in 2002, costing the Crimson Tide scholarships and bowl appearances.

Attorney Tommy Gallion, who represented former Alabama assistants Ivy Williams and Ronnie Cottrell in a defamation suit against the NCAA and others, called the news tragic.

Memphis attorney Phillip Shanks was assisting Gallion on the lawsuit in May 2004 when he was attacked in his office and left unconscious. Key case documents were stolen, he said. No one was ever charged in the case.

“I have no idea who could be behind this. I was shocked that Phillip Shanks was beaten, and this was more shocking,” Gallion said in a statement read by his secretary.

Cottrell said he was horrified when he heard Young had been killed.

“I couldn't believe it. Logan was a friend, and he has been through so much already. Certainly for his life to end this way was a tragedy. My prayers are just with his family right now,” Cottrell said.

Defense attorney Robert Hutton said he last talked with Young last week and called his death a total shock and a real loss.

“He was very generous man. He was generous with people around him. A pastor of a Catholic Church, he asked for money for some program, for the roof or something, and he gave him the money. Logan wasn't even Catholic,” Hutton said.

AP Sports Writers Teresa M. Walker in Nashville and John Zenor in Montgomery, Ala., contributed to this story.