Todd Yeagley picked up his 100th career victory as a head coach Tuesday night when the Indiana men’s soccer team took a 4-0 victory over Evansville.
That’s Indiana as in the No. 1-ranked team in the nation. IU is 9-0-2 and has allowed just two goals in those 11 games. Freshman goalkeeper Trey Muse has nine shutouts.
I asked Todd on Tuesday night after the match how old he thought he would have to be in order to catch his dad in terms of career victories at Indiana.
The younger Yeagley just smiled. It was one of those knowing smiles that the reality is he’ll never catch his dad, legendary IU coach Jerry Yeagley, whom the field at Indiana is named after.
And he admitted he doesn’t really want to either.
The elder Yeagley, the legendary one, coached at IU from its inception in 1973 through the 2003 season. In that span, his teams won six national championships, and he’s considered the most successful collegiate soccer coach in history. He won a Div. I record 544 games.
His overall record was 544-101-45, a winning percentage of .828. He never had a losing season at Indiana.
So while 100 wins is definitely a feather in Todd Yeagley’s cap, the reality is he still has 445 wins to go to pass his pop.
So how old does he think he would have to be?
“I don’t know if I’m going to get that old,’’ Yeagley said with a smile. “If I’m not retired by then, I’ll be coaching way past the age that I should be coaching.’’
Yeagley is 45 and in his eighth season as the Indiana head coach. He also coached one season at Wisconsin in 2009.
“That number I don’t think will ever be touched,’’ Todd Yeagley said. “And, quite honestly, I hope it’s not. As much as I care for my dad, I hope it’s an honor and that he’s able to keep that mark. Hopefully, it stays with him through time.’’
The 100 career wins is a cool thing for the younger Yeagley but clearly what he is enjoying even more is how good his current team is playing.
In the last five games alone, IU has outscored its opponents 17-0. IU has scored 15 goals in the last four games.
Yeagley said with how well the defense is playing, Indiana has gotten to the point where once it scores the first goal, it believes there’s a pretty good chance its going to find a way to win.
“We’re creating a lot of great chances that we’re still not converting so I feel like we can put even more into the back of the net,’’ Yeagley said. “But it’s now to the point where the group is like ‘We know we can find a goal,’ and if we continue to get shutouts all we need is one.
“They’re not frustrated that if a second doesn’t come right away (like Tuesday against Evansville) that they necessarily need to get two or three. They just feel like they need to get the one and then lock it down defensively.’’
The last goal that IU allowed was Sept. 13 in a 1-1 tie against Michigan. Before that, the other goal scored against the Hoosiers this season was Sept. 1 in a 5-1 win over San Francisco.
And so it’s back to winning time again for IU men’s soccer.
When people think of the most successful athletic programs at Indiana University, a lot of folks think about those five national championship banners hanging in Assembly Hall.
And there’s no question that IU basketball has had its share of success that has elevated the program on a national stage.
But IU soccer is almost at a different level. The proof, when it comes to something like this, is always in the national championships, and Indiana soccer has eight of them.
One of the knocks on IU basketball is that the Hoosiers haven’t won the national championship since 1987. Recruits of today have to rely on older people to tell them how good IU basketball once was.
That’s not the case for IU soccer. The first title came in 1982, and there were two others in the 1980s. IU won back-to-back national championships in 1998 and 1999, then had back-to-back crowns again in 2003 and 2004.
The most recent title came in 2012, and Todd Yeagley won that one, giving his family name seven of the eight national crowns.
Can 2017 be No. 9? There are still six regular-season games left before postseason play, beginning Saturday at Penn State. Four of those six opponents are nationally ranked.
But with a confident group of IU soccer players, I can’t imagine anyone betting against the Hoosiers right now to find a way to add that ninth star to their collection.