Indiana head coach Todd Yeagley has never coached a game in Philadelphia but 41 years ago there was a different Yeagley on the sideline when Indiana played San Francisco for the College Cup final at Franklin Field.
It was Todd’s dad, Jerry, who led the Hoosiers to the first of 13 College Cup appearances during his long tenure as head coach that season.
The Hoosiers lost that day 1-0 to the Dons and would go on to lose two more times to San Francisco in cup finals before the elder Yeagley, a Myerstown, Pa. native who starred at West Chester University in his playing days, won the first of six national championships as a coach.
When asked at Thursday’s press conference at Talen Energy Stadium if playing in a College Cup in Chester held any significance, Todd Yeagley mentioned the ‘76 final.
“There is (significance),” Yeagley said, noting that his dad was planning to visit Franklin Field while in town. “There is a lot of history with our program here in this city and I'm a big historian of our program obviously because I've lived and grown in it and it's neat to kind of see the ties and how it's connected. We have alumni coming in, who were part of that transition time and some of our best teams in the ‘70s, and I've always heard about this particular game in the past and how it was tough for my father in the city. So hopefully, they bring some good vibes and get it done this weekend.”
Todd Yeagley was four at the time of the 1976 final but he has plenty of memories of other Hoosiers triumphs, including his own title as the head coach in 2012 when Indiana beat Georgetown 1-0 in Alabama to add the eighth star, something that eluded him in his playing days when Indiana lost to Virginia in the 1994 final his senior year.
“The ultimate mark is a star,” he said on Thursday. “It's hard to do, and we've had some of our best teams through the years not end up on top. So, we don't define it by that measure, but they're leaving their mark on this program right now. They have been this year with some of the things they've done and it's just again, a cool opportunity to be able to be in this environment and have a chance to play potentially two more games... There is no better feeling at the end than sharing that moment as a team when you have the trophy.”
It’s something the Yeagley family has been accustomed to for decades. Long before Jerry Yeagley arrived in Bloomington, he had already won a state championship as a star midfielder at Myerstown High School and a national championship with the school then known West Chester State in 1961.
Indiana plays North Carolina in the second game of a doubleheader, tentatively scheduled to kick off at 8:45 p.m. The match will be broadcast on ESPNU.