From 1961 to 1998, Earl Yestingsmeier was the head coach at Ball State University. At the age of 65, Yestingsmeier retired, but you really wouldn’t know it.
Since his retirement in the late 1990s, he has traveled with the team, missing only two tournaments in 14 years.
“I just like to go to all the tournaments,” said Yestingsmeier, 78. “The new coach Mike Fleck does a good job with kids and they are respectful kids I like to watch play the great game of golf.”
Yestingsmeier did more than just coach the men’s golf team at Ball State. While coaching the Cardinals he was also the school’s Sports Information Director until 1990, where the coach did the best he could in scheduling his tournaments around events, missing only one tournament in 37 years.
In 1972, Ball State was hosting the Women’s NCAA Volleyball Championship, and Yestingsmeier was asked to cover the event for the school. Unfortunately, it was the same week his Cardinals golf team was traveling to South Bend, Ind., to play in the Irish Invitational.
“I didn’t just have 40-hour work weeks at Ball State,” Yestingsmeier said. “My work week each and every week was 70 hours and I loved all of it.”
Since he started coaching the golf program in 1961, Yestingsmeier has missed a total of three Ball State golf tournaments
“It’s hard to put my time and love in to words for Ball State,” he said. “My favorite times each year are those few occasions they invite me to ride in their team van.”
While leading the Cardinals on the course Yestingsmeier achieved great accomplishments and had much success. His Cardinals totaled 107 collegiate victories, once served as the president of the GCAA, and is a member of both the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame and Indiana Golf Hall of Fame. Yestingsmeier, who graduated from Ball State in 1955, lead his alma mater to six conference championships and 11 NCAA tournament appearances.
There is no doubt that he still wears his red and white proudly wherever he goes. Players of the current golf team don’t just refer to him as their greatest fan, but as the team’s unofficial mascot as well.
“The kids mean so much to me,” Yestingsmeier said. “There isn’t any other team I’d rather see or enjoy playing in a golf tournament anywhere else.”
Today, Yestingsmeier jokes and laughs when people ask him to recite his favorite golf moments with the program over the years. The retired coach will put on a big smile, look you in the eye, and just say there’s too many to talk about.