Former Ball State head coach Earl Yestingsmeier died on Jan. 9 at his home in Muncie, Ind.
He was 80.
On the team’s Twitter account (@BallStateMGolf): “We are deeply saddened to share that Coach Earl Yestingsmeier has passed away. There are no words to describe what he meant to BSU. #RIP #EY”
“He was the patriarch of our program, is the best way to sum it up,” head men’s golf coach Mike Fleck said. “He was iconic, legendary and not only to our golf program, but to all of Ball State and amateur golf in Indiana.”
Yestingsmeier, a 1955 Ball State graduate, coached the golf team from 1962 to ’98.
Early last week, before the football team left for the Go Daddy Bowl game, Fleck said Yestingsmeier was in the athletic offices making his rounds and saying hello and good luck to the staff.
During his 36 years as coach, the Cardinals teams won six Mid-American Conference titles, 107 tournament titles and made 11 NCAA appearances.
“I’ve been here for 16 years,” Fleck said, “… and he’s been there for me on a regular basis. He was a father figure to me. I looked up to, respected and leaned upon him, but I tell you what, not once did he offer up a suggestion, or point me in a direction to run this program. He was a fan and always behind the scenes after he stopped coaching.”
In 1981, Yestingsmeier was inducted into the university’s Athletics Hall of Fame. He was inducted into the Golf Coaches Association Hall of Fame in 1994 and the Indiana Golf Hall of Fame in 1997.
The Cardinals’ home tournament and the main press box at Ball State’s Scheumann Stadium in Muncie are named in Yestingsmeier’s honor.
Yestingsmeier retired at the end of the 1997-98 season but continued to travel with the team to tournaments.
“There are things that are in motion,” Fleck said about preserving Yestingsmeier’s legacy. “Obviously we’ll have to address the golf tournament and make that into a memorial tournament. And right now, we (Ball Sate) are going through a facility enhancement and once thing on the list is the indoor golf facility. I would like to see the golf facility named after him to create legacy for him and the program.
“Everything we can do continue his legacy, we will do.”