OWENSBORO, Kentucky (WFIE) - Craig Yeast has been named the Head Football Coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College, as announced by Director of Athletics Rob Mallory on Monday. Yeast, a former National Football League (NFL) player and All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) wide receiver at the University of Kentucky, will serve as the program’s 17th head coach in 58 seasons of program history (1907-30/1983-present). He will be introduced to the community at a Press Conference on Wednesday in Rogers Hall on the campus of Kentucky Wesleyan at 2 PM CT.
“I am excited to welcome Craig Yeast, his wife Tori, and their family to Kentucky Wesleyan and the Owensboro community" said Director of Athletics Rob Mallory. "After a lengthy professional career, Craig has quickly established himself as a dynamic and rising star in the coaching ranks, and I am confident he is the right person to lead this program into a new era.”
Yeast comes to Wesleyan after three years at Franklin College in Indiana where he served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Grizzlies produced the most prolific offense in NCAA Division III over the past three seasons. Yeast balanced the offense in 2018 as the Grizzlies averaged 225 rushing and 333 passing yards per game.
“There is a tremendous opportunity to build an excellent football program at Kentucky Wesleyan and the fact that KWC is in my home state made this position more intriguing,” said Yeast. “Furthermore, after spending time with Athletic Director Rob Mallory and understanding the vision he has for the culture of Wesleyan athletics gave me confirmation in believing a championship program can be built here. I love the commonwealth of Kentucky so being handed the keys to the Panthers Football Program is not something I take lightly. I am very blessed, honored, and extremely excited for this opportunity. I am familiar with Owensboro, but I have not been here since 1994. Much has changed so my family and I are looking forward to exploring and becoming a part of the Owensboro community.”
In 2017, the Grizzly offense lead the Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference (HCAC) in yards per game (564.5), total passing yards (4,478), total offense (6,210 yards) and scoring (48.6 points per game). Nationally, Franklin’s offense finished Top 5 NCAA Division III in Total Offense (1st - 564.5 YPG) Passing Offense (1st – 407.1 YPG) and Scoring Offense (4th – 48.6 PPG).
“Our plan is to move forward in a positive direction with the goal of developing a program that has a positive family-oriented culture of winning on and off the field,” added Yeast. “All players and coaches must realize the number one priority of the program is to earn a degree from Kentucky Wesleyan College. We will be men of our word, we will be accountable to one another, we will be enthusiastic to attack each day with an attitude of gratitude. We will aspire to develop leaders that do what is right on campus and in the community.”
Yeast spent three years (2012-2014) as wide receivers coach at NCAA Division II Tiffin University (Ohio). Under Yeast’s guidance, the Dragons receiving corps finished the season with three receivers named to the 2012 All-GLIAC Team, four receivers with at least 40 receptions for the season, and amassed over 2,700 yards in a single season as a group.
From 2014-2016, Yeast served as the Head Football Coach at Fremont Ross High School outside of Toledo, Ohio. In addition to his coaching duties, Yeast was also the school’s Special Education teacher.
Yeast was a wide receiver with the New York Jets in the NFL after being drafted in the fourth round of by the Cincinnati Bengals in 1999. Yeast also played four professional seasons with the Hamilton Tiger Cats (2003- 2006) of the Canadian Football League.
He concluded his collegiate career with the most receptions (208) in SEC history and still ranks inside the conference’s all-time leaders in receiving yards (9th), catches (5th), and touchdowns (8th). Yeast still ranks as Kentucky’s all-time receiver with 208 catches, 2,899 receiving yards, and 28 touchdowns in a career.
He earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sport management from Midway College (2011) and a Masters degree in education from Tiffin (2013).
He and his wife Tori have been married for 19 years with two children, 19-year-old Craig II “Russ”, and 16- year-old Kiyah.
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Courtesy: KWC Athletics