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IU inducts 2 coaches, 5 athletes to Hall of Fame

POSTED AT 11:54 PM ON Nov. 8, 2009 

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What makes IU men’s soccer different from other programs is not just the pride in the jersey or the foundation of excellence established in the days when the team was just a club.

What makes IU soccer different is one man, Jerry Yeagley, and his legacy.

Yeagley was inducted into the IU Hall of Fame along with former IU coach Bob Knight and five former athletes.

The former coach sat in the press box peering down on a struggling team for nearly every home game this season. He used to coach that team with one word: domination.

“The next member of this class is not a building block at all ... he’s the building,” former Herald-Times sportswriter and 2008 Hall of Fame inductee Bob Hammel said about Yeagley.

Under Yeagley, IU men’s soccer has 27 NCAA tournament berths, six NCAA titles, 16 trips to the College Cup, 12 appearances in the championship game and one of the best soccer programs in the nation since 1973.

The Hoosiers lost four of eight homes games this season but finished the regular season the only way Yeagley seems to know how to end a soccer game – with a win.

Yeagley, the all-time winningest Division I men’s soccer coach, compiled a 544-101-45 record at IU.

“I worked at one place for 41 years and, you know, there was never a day that I regretted my decision to stay at Indiana University,” Yeagley said during his induction speech. “It was a labor of love for me. Not every day was as good as the others, but then there was no place I would have rather been during those 41 years.”

This induction class was special because the winningest coach in soccer was honored by the IU Hall of Fame along with Bob Knight, the winningest coach in men’s basketball.

“Indiana University has an awful lot to be proud of,” Hammel said.

Yeagley remembers the time when there was no acclaim for men’s soccer and when it was not a varsity sport at IU. When the team was still a club, then-athletic director Bill Orwig and Dean of Students Tom Schreck talked with Yeagley about his role with men’s soccer.

“They cornered me in a room and said, ‘You know you’re putting a little too much emphasis in this soccer club,’” Yeagley said. “‘You might want to back off and be a little more recreational with it.’ Bill Orwig didn’t know I was a full-time faculty member, and he said, ‘When you finish your studies here, it’s probably better that you move on.’”

Yeagley spent 10 years coaching the club soccer team before his work ultimately paid off. From there, the history of Yeagley’s coaching includes numbers unmatched by any soccer coach in America.

IU soccer can be defined as a long list of successes, but the true answer lies within each player, Yeagley said. 

“One of the keys to our success with the IU soccer program is that we established great pride in the uniform,” he said. “Every player takes tremendous pride in the history and tradition of this program and respects the tradition and those that have worn the uniform in the past.”

But pride doesn’t stop there.

“Every player feels it’s a privilege and an honor to wear the uniform and also understands that a responsibility goes with wearing that uniform,” Yeagley said. “Not only your best performance, but your highest standard is acceptable. When you take the field wearing that IU soccer uniform, you hold your head high and your chest out.

“You don’t hope to win, you expect to win because, after all, you are Indiana.”

 

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