Ball State fourth-year head football coach Pete Lembo has announced football alumni Mike Lecklider and Art Yaroch will serve as honorary coaches for this year’s Spring Game Saturday, April 19, at 2 p.m. in Scheumann Stadium.
“We are very excited to have Art and Mike on the sidelines with the team for this year’s Spring Game,” Lembo says. “I have really enjoyed getting to know these two successful football alumni over the last three years. Their loyalty and efforts to stay connected, as well as their generosity, sets a great example for other football alumni. Our current student-athletes will definitely enjoy getting to know both of them.”
The pair helped the Cardinals to an 8-3 overall record, a 4-1 Mid-American Conference record and the 1976 MAC Championship.
Lecklider earned three letters in football for the Cardinals from 1973-77 and was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 2010. He was selected as a co-captain of the 1976 football team, which won the school’s first-ever Mid-American Conference Championship. Lecklider led the Cardinals with five interceptions as a senior, and his 14 career interceptions set the Ball State career record. He was an All-MAC Second Team choice after ranking second in the league in interceptions in 1976 and finishing second for the Cardinals with 98 tackles.
“I am very excited and appreciative to be asked to participate in the Spring Game as an honorary coach,” Lecklider says. “It has been 38 years since my playing days at Ball State, but the memories of my team’s success and the relationships with my teammates from the McClain’s Train era are still inspirational parts of my life today.”
Lecklider recently retired from a medical supply distribution business after 25 years and works with his son, Chase, on a general contracting business with a focus on exterior renovation.
Yaroch was a co-captain on the 1976 team with Lecklider and was inducted into the Ball State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1988. Yaroch was the recipient of Ball State’s John Magnabosco Award as the Cardinals’ most valuable player as a senior plus earned All-MAC First-Team honors as the team’s quarterback. Yaroch became only the fourth quarterback in Ball State history to throw for over 1,000 yards in a season when he completed 78-of-157 passes for 1,088 yards as a senior in 1976.
“Being a part of Ball State’s football program has been a positive influence on so many parts of my life,” Yaroch says. “It was a great honor being asked to come back as an honorary coach, and I look forward to spending some time with this year’s team and coaching staff.”
Yaroch has served as the president of Alpha Wire Division, Belden, Inc., for the past four years after spending time as a vice president and managing director in various divisions.
“Art and Mike were team leaders and outstanding players during the Dave McClain era – a highly successful period in Ball State’s football history,” Lembo says. “We are working hard to replicate the consistency the Ball State football program achieved during the late 1970’s under Coach McClain’s guidance.”
Ball State is in the midst of Spring Practice in preparation for the 2014 season opener Saturday, Aug. 30, vs. Colgate at Scheumann Stadium. The Cardinals will also host Indiana State Sept. 13, Western Michigan for Homecoming Oct. 11, Akron Oct. 25, Northern Illinois Nov. 5 and Eastern Michigan Nov. 22.