Former University of Kentucky football star Craig Yeast graduated from Midway University in June 2011 with a degree in Sports Management. He left UK as a non-graduate in 1998 and had a combined eight-year professional career in the NFL/CFL. It took Craig 13 years to go back and earn his college degree but, were it not for Midway University, he’s not sure he’d be in the position he is today.
Yeast recently was named head football coach at Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro, Kentucky. He said he was searching for a way to stay involved with the game he loved when he retired from playing football professionally, so he began working with young people by running camps and ultimately coaching high school football. He gives credit to Midway for helping make that possible.
“Midway University afforded me the opportunity to graduate with a degree in Sports Management in a manner that provided me the ability to use all my prior experiences as a player and coach, as well as working around my schedule,” he said. “That was very important to me and I am forever grateful for the opportunity.”
Dick Robinson was the main reason Yeast decided to attend Midway. Robinson had a significant impact on Yeast’s life as a mentor. Yeast said Robinson instilled in him that he was more than just an athlete and that he had much more to give. Not only that, Robinson challenged him in the classroom and in life through goal setting. He stressed to Yeast the importance of earning a college degree and how it was something that couldn’t be taken away because it is earned. He also emphasized the example it would set for Yeast’s wife and children.
Yeast and his wife, Tori, have been married 19 years and are proud parents of two children. The oldest, (Russ) Craig II, is a sophomore at the University of Louisville and part of the football team. The youngest, Kiyah, is a junior in high school and part of the soccer and track teams.
Yeast said his favorite Midway memory was the first night he walked in to class and the professor (Robinson) walked in, took roll, and said, “Within 18 months each of you will be college graduates but, before that happens, each of you will get up before the class, introduce yourselves and tell us a little about how you got here. After we finish that, I want each of you to write down what you want to gain from this college experience and what your goals are after graduation. My job is to provide you with whatever you need, so I will go over them with you individually, will hold each of you to them, and do everything I can to make sure I do my part in helping you stay on track.”
Yeast offered his advice to future graduates, noting it is never too late to earn a college degree.
“It is something that YOU earn, it is not simply given,” he said. “When you are out in the world living your life and working tirelessly to make a difference, be proud of the fact you earned your degree from Midway University!