MIKE WOITALLA: Yeagley wins it for the game
One Indiana player in the 1998 final was alive when Jerry Yeagley coached the Hoosiers in their first NCAA final four. Defender Andrew Parrish was 8 months old when Indiana lost to San Francisco 1-0 in the 1976 championship game.
When Yeagley's Hoosiers won their first title, his current players were still in kindergarten.
The championship that Yeagley picked up this year is his fourth in 26 seasons at Indiana's helm He arrived in Bloomington 36 years ago and had to toil for 10 years before soccer went from club to varsity status. After that followed 12 final-four appearances.
I've seen Yeagley six times at a final four and have a few theories about him. He is a man who loves to win but doesn't hate to lose. He is at home in his Midwest town but in tune with the world of soccer.
He knows that what made Indiana successful two decades ago is no longer good enough for his program, or for college soccer in general. Yeagley was once proud that his team could win titles on diligence and fight, then he decided they would win with skill and brilliance. The attack-minded style of Yeagley's team brought the spirit into this year's final four.
Many of Yeagley's contemporaries, who built the collegiate programs that helped spread soccer throughout the nation, lost the ability to relate to the young players of today. Not Yeagley.
That he has been successful with different styles in different decades sets him apart from other icons of American college soccer.
Yeagley's triumphs, since arriving at Indiana 36 years ago, have always been good for IU. This last one was good for the college game.
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