Hall of Fame Member Earl Yestingsmeier Passes Away
Earl Yestingsmeier, the long-time men’s golf coach and sports information director at Ball State University, passed away this week at his home in Muncie. He was 80 years old.
Yestingsmeier coached the Ball State men’s golf team for 36 years until his retirement in 1998, spending 31 of those years in a dual role as the university’s sports information director. He remained one of Ball State’s biggest fans until his passing.
As a coach, Yestingsmeier led the Cardinals to 107 tournament titles and 11 NCAA Tournament appearances. For his success, he was enshrined in the Ball State Athletics, Golf Coaches Association and Indiana Golf halls of fame.
A four-time conference coach of the year, Yestingsmeier’s teams won six league titles in his career. He guided the Cardinals from their days in the Indiana Collegiate Conference into the Midwestern Conference and eventually into the Mid-American Conference in the 1970s.
He coached numerous players who went on to compete professionally, including four -- Brian Tennyson, Jeff Gallagher, Denny Hepler and Scott Steger -- on the PGA Tour. Additionally, 89 of his golfers went on to careers in the sport as teaching professionals or in golf management positions. One of his pupils, Mike Fleck, took over the Ball State program when he retired and continues to lead it today.
“Coach Earl truly was Ball State golf in every sense of the word,” Fleck said. “It is a sad day. I loved the man, and I know he loved all of us. He was a great ambassador for Ball State and for college golf, and we are going to miss him dearly. He did so much for so many of us.”
Yestingsmeier was dedicated to the educational mission of collegiate athletics. More than 90 percent of Ball State golfers graduated during his tenure, and 11 of them were named All-America Scholars by the Golf Coaches Association of America. Yestingsmeier, a president of the GCAA from 1994-96, was a founding member of the GCAA Scholar Committee.
A native of Evansville, Ind., Yestingsmeier earned his bachelor’s degree from Ball State in 1955 and his master’s degree from the university in 1958.
He then spent virtually his entire professional career working for his alma mater. He started as sports information director in 1959 and became golf coach in 1963. During his career, he also held titles of athletic ticket manager and assistant director of alumni relations.
Even after his retirement, Yestingsmeier continued to follow the Ball State men’s golf team to nearly every tournament. He was on hand last spring as the Cardinals’ reached the NCAA Championships for the first time since he was the coach.
Yestingsmeier also remained a fixture at athletic events on campus. When Scheumann Stadium was renovated in 2007, the main press area was named in honor of him and his wife, the former Mona Fahl, who preceded him in death.
“I was not privileged to be around Earl nearly as long as so many others at Ball State, but it didn’t take long to realize just what a treasure he was for our university,” Ball State director of intercollegiate athletics Bill Scholl says. “I had the good fortune of spending time with him when our men’s golf team competed in the NCAA Championships last spring, and I will remember those moments fondly. He was dedicated to our athletic department and our student-athletes for decades, and we will always be grateful for his contributions.”
Yestingsmeier received the Ball State Alumni Association Benny Award in 1985 for dedicated service and leadership to the university and the Distinguished Alumni Award from the alumni association in 2004.
Monday, Jan. 13, 2014 – 4-8 p.m.
Meeks Mortuary – Mt. Pleasant Chapel
7901 W. Isanogel Road
Muncie, IN 47304
Tuesday, Jan. 14, 2014 – 11 a.m.
(an additional visitation session will begin at 10 a.m. prior to the service)
High Street United Methodist Church
219 South High Street
Muncie, IN 47305
In lieu of flowers, please consider making donations to:
Cardinal Varsity Club – Men’s Golf (816)
Ball State University
Muncie, IN 47306
Indiana Golf Foundation/First Tee of Indiana
P.O. Box 516
Franklin, IN 46131
Story courtesy of Ball State.