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Big Ten coach of the year Todd Yeagley: A reflection on more than just himself

Todd Yeagley won Big Ten coach of the year for the second time in his career. (Kurt Spitler/HN)

Todd Yeagley is never one to gloat about his successes.

When asked about his Big Ten coach of the year honor, he was succinct with his answer.

“It’s nice,” Yeagley said.

At times throughout the season, Yeagley has offered points of reflection. After a total of 10 IU players received awards from the Big Ten, along with Yeagley as coach of the year, now more than ever seems like a time to reflect.

“In the world that we’re in, it’s hard to sit back and look at what you’re doing in the moment,” Yeagley said. “You’re always trying to do the next thing as a player or a coach. Often you have to take a step back for a second, and look what you are doing.”

But after he was named coach of the year, he immediately wanted to praise everyone around him. He is not the type of guy to revel in his own successes. Yeagley was happy for his players who brought home the most awards in the Big Ten. The Hoosiers had the freshman of the year, defender of the year and goalkeeper of the year.

He was beaming with joy when Jack Maher, Andrew Gutman and Trey Muse were able to bring home those awards, respectively. But it wasn’t even about those three or the other seven who were honored. He made it about the entire team.

“I told the staff that anytime you have the talent and the year we’ve had, those accolades are a reflection on it,” Yeagley said. “I just told the guys that we had a lot today honored and we need to take a look back at all the guys who aren’t playing on the weekend who allows you guys to shine. The guys pushing you everyday. That’s really what the key was to this whole process.”

This Big Ten coach of the year award is his second overall for Yeagley. His first came in 2010 during his first season at the helm of the IU soccer program as head coach when he won his only other Big Ten regular season title. That season was also a huge success for the Hoosiers. But 2018 was a record-breaking season. No team had ever gone 8-0 during a conference season.

That was until Yeagley and the Hoosiers were able to conquer that mark.

“I think it’s a great honor for him to get coach of the year,” senior defender Rece Buckmaster said. “Being 8-0 in the Big Ten, I think he’s got to get that award every time.”

Yeagley came back to Indiana in 2010 after a season as head coach at Wisconsin. He had been an assistant in Bloomington and was ready to step into a job in which his dad, Jerry, had for many years before.

That first season included a Big Ten regular season title. Two years later he had reached the mountaintop of the college soccer world with the program’s eighth national title. Yeagley and the coaching staff have done a fantastic job putting Indiana back in a position to capture another national title in 2018.

Yeagley knows plenty of talk is out there about the Hoosiers getting back to the College Cup. But before Sunday’s win over Northwestern, it was a singular focus: get to Westfield. That’s the next thing on the docket for the Hoosiers and he wanted to make sure his team was focused on that particular task.

“You’re playing for a title, and you keep moving to get to Westfield,” Yeagley said in locker room prior to IU’s match vs. Northwestern (via @IndianaMSOC). “That’s what you’re playing for. We have a lot in front of us.”

Now they’re on to Westfield with the awards in their pockets. But nothing much has changed. They still are on track for a top four seed in the NCAA Tournament and the remaining teams in the Big Ten Tournament are vying to knock off the undefeated Hoosiers.

A lot can happen in eight years, but for Yeagley, the difference between his second award from his first was simple.

“I’m just older,” Yeagley said.

I am a senior from Seattle, Washington majoring in Media. I am formerly of the Indiana Daily Student where I covered Indiana men’s soccer team and women’s basketball. You still can find me broadcasting for WIUX Student Radio and on BTN Student U outside of The Hoosier Network. Former intern at 710 ESPN Seattle and broadcaster for the Falmouth Commodores. Email: Follow me on Twitter: @JoshEastern.

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