CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- All Jerry Yeagley wanted was a shot at varsity status.\nThat was his final four in 1973 -- turning IU soccer into a varsity sport.\nHe never thought that 28 years later he'd have the second highest career collegiate coaching victories, or that his teams would have competed in exactly half of the final four tournaments they had a chance to make.\nBut Yeagley's teams have been that successful.\nAt Ericsson Stadium Friday, IU played Creighton in its 14th College Cup appearance. The Hoosiers lost 2-1 in triple overtime, ending their season short of the third consecutive national title they set out to win, but the fact that Yeagley got them there surprised many people.\nIU barely made the NCAA tournament and wasn't expected to win its first three games on the road. The Hoosiers did win those games, adding yet another chapter to the IU soccer machine that Yeagley began building almost 40 years ago.\n"You build a tradition by continuing to do the little things, by continuing to not try to take shortcuts, not try to get there with a quick fix," Yeagley said Sunday, while watching the College Cup final. "You've got to do things right all the time. You've got to prepare properly all the time.\n"Then things will fall into place."\n \nThe Family Tree\nYeagley remembers the days when IU soccer was the Indiana Union Soccer Club.\nWhen Yeagley began coaching the club in 1963, coaches and players would line their own fields, move their own goals and make their own fliers to advertise games.\nThey did everything themselves.\n"I think it brought us together and made us appreciate things more," he said. "I've always tried to keep the players focused on the history, what it took, who the pioneers were and to feel respect and pride for the uniform."\nYeagley teaches his players to respect the uniform and history because those pioneers are family, as is every player who passes through the program, he said.\nGreg Mauch didn't even play soccer at IU, but he knows all about the program and its family atmosphere.\nMauch first met Yeagley in 1975 as a freshman at IU. He came to Yeagley's old office in the Health Physical Education and Recreation building bearing a letter of recommendation; he wanted to be a student manager.\nYeagley gave Mauch the job, and their relationship soon turned into that of mentor-student. After being at IU three years, Mauch switched his major; he wanted to coach instead of go into business.\n"He knew I was interested in coaching and he used to take time in practice and say, 'What would the pedagogue be for this?' and give me some opportunities to sit in on some coaching planning sessions.\n"He went way out of his way to help me learn to become a coach."\nAbout five years ago, Mauch had a chance to sit down with a few other people Yeagley has helped during the past 28 years.\nDanny King, the sweeper on IU's national championship teams in 1982 and '83, brought his soccer club from St. Louis to Ft. Wayne, and that evening he, Mauch and a few other IU soccer players got together. \n"It really is a family," Mauch said. "There were five generations of IU soccer people there. To have five generations of players all bound by respect for coach Yeagley and still involved in game because of what he does, I thought that was just a remarkable evening."\nJustin Tauber and Matt Fundenberger, both seniors, are part of yet another generation of IU soccer.\nFundenberger has been at IU for four years and Tauber five. They said they look forward to coming back to IU and watching future generations of Hoosiers play.\nTauber said he'll miss coming to practice every day, but he'll now become an older member of the IU soccer family. He'll get the newspaper clippings and announcements Yeagley sends to alumni. He'll get invited to alumni games and tailgates.\nFor that, he's thankful.\n"It's just great knowing even though you're leaving the program, you're not leaving the family," Tauber said. "They're still going to be there for you. It's just great to be a part of it."
Class Act\nCaleb Porter knew Jerry Yeagley as his coach just three years ago.\nPorter played for Yeagley from 1994-97 and grew to admire him as both a person and a coach.\nNow, Porter knows Yeagley as a co-worker.\nPorter joined IU's coaching staff this past summer, replacing John Trask. Since then, he's seen a side of Yeagley that he didn't as a player.\n"I'm getting to actually see the way he does things behind the scenes, and I'm in awe of it everyday," Porter said. "There's a science to it. It's funny because I find myself watching and seeing what he does and everything is just ... I can't explain it.\n"I just admire him. There's no one I respect more other than my father. He's just ... He's unbelievable."\nYeagley left the same speechless impression on Mauch, who said he can't put into words the gratitude he feels toward the man who got him started in the coaching profession.\nAs for Yeagley's current players, they too call their coach a class act.\n"First and foremost, he's a great guy, a classy individual," Fundenberger said. "You never see him do anything negative or anything that other people would look at and say, 'Why's this guy doing that?'\n"It seems like he always knows the right thing to do."\nThis season, the thing to do has been getting IU to work well as a team. The Hoosiers haven't had the quantity of superstars they've had in recent years, so Yeagley emphasized the team concept. He made lineup changes and tweaked several things before finding something that worked.\nIn the process, the Hoosiers lost six games before starting the NCAA tournament -- the second highest loss total they've had heading into postseason play.\nThis season could be called one of Yeagley's best as a coach, getting a team to the final four without the talent level it had in its past two championships.\nBut he insists he didn't get the team to the College Cup again. The players did.\n"You can have 11 great players out there, but how you placed them on the field, what roles you give them, what shape you give them and how you go about attacking and defending, that's the real challenge of coaching," he said. "And I'm proud that we've done a pretty doggone good job of that over the years.\n"But again, you can't do it without players. Anybody that says coaches make players, we create an environment where they can develop to their potential. But great players make good coaches. That's the way it works."\nGreat players might make a good coach, but it's IU's coach who created a program that attracts the nation's top talent every year.\nThat ability to get top recruits, Yeagley said, is all part of the IU family tradition.\n"It's an aura," he said. "It's a feeling, it's a special feeling that this is Indiana soccer and Indiana soccer is special. And people want to be part of that.\n"It has helped many times close the deal, when one of the recruits says, 'Gosh, the other team's got great players, they have this, they have that. But there's that Indiana soccer family, feeling like you're part of a family."