Alumni Spotlight: Charles Young
Charles Young III

July 23, 2014

Former Michigan football defensive back Charles Young III (2000-03) was a letterman on the 2003 Big Ten championship team where he was key contributor on special teams. A native of Flint, Mich., Young is currently the chief of staff for the Detroit City Council and is considering running for office once he completes his current appointment.

Q. What have you been doing since your graduation from Michigan?

A. In one word, life. I've been able to get experience in a lot of different arenas. After college, I enrolled in law school at the New England School of Law in Boston. I went that route because I had aspirations of being an athletic director and thought the law degree would supplement my sports management degree well. But I ended up leaving Boston after my first year in law school to come back home and work for our family business, SDE Business Partnering, which at one point was the largest minority supplier for Chrysler. After working for the family business for a few years, I decided I wanted to complete my law degree and get involved with the Detroit City Council. I am currently the chief of staff for Detroit City Council member Gabe Leland, and I am also enrolled in law school and the MBA program at the University of Detroit Mercy. I have fulfilled three years of credits in the program, but this is my first year in the law portion.

Q. What is a typical day like as chief of staff for the Detroit City Council?

A. I am required to do a variety of tasks. My work day begins around 7 a.m. A day might include legislative policy analysis, managing a five-member office, attending a meeting for the council member, meeting with Olympia Development representatives on the new hockey arena, meeting with community groups on various issues or meeting with other city departments to handle constituent issues within District 7, the district that we represent. Our group also chairs the Planning and Economic Development Committee, so I get the chance to be a part of all of the development projects that come through the city.

Q. How did Michigan help you for life after football?

Charles Young III
Charles Young III

A. I'd definitely say you learn to compete. You understand that here at Michigan, it's a microcosm of real life. You know that you're really operating on your own behalf when you get out of here. The team concept is something that you cherish and value. You've got brothers with you in any aspect of life. Definitely learning how to compete and understanding that out there in the real world, you've got to put your best foot forward at all times.

Q. What were your most meaningful moments at U-M and after graduation?

A. When I was here, I would probably have to say winning the Big Ten championship. I was class of '03-04. That was probably the highlight having not done it for a couple years up until that point. That was definitely a highlight. A highlight since has been when they beat Ohio State again a couple years ago. I will admit that was one of the few times I almost shed a tear. Another moment was when Bo (Schembechler) passed. He was just such a staple of the program; he meant so much to everyone. He was one of those guys. We all know we have to go eventually, but when it did happen, knowing what he meant to the program, to so many young men through the years was just one of the moments.

Q. What are some of your goals moving forward?

A. A short-term goal right now is to get better every day. It's something we used to always say here at Michigan. It's something that I definitely take with me in whatever arena I'm in. That's a personal mantra of mine. As a long-term goal, I've thought about running for office here once I complete my current appointment, but there are a lot of other variables that would help to make that aspiration a little more clear. But holding office of some kind, whether it's locally or at the state or federal level, is definitely something I've thought about. We'll see what happens. I've been in the federal political arena for the last three or four years so it's kind of a natural progression.

The recently created Office of Alumni Engagement strives to foster a community, recognize the holistic student-athlete and honor the great Michigan Athletics history. This alumni spotlight illustrates the impact that our alumni are having around the world and how they stay engaged with Michigan.

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