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FAITHFUL FAN | Duchesne’s Ted Yeater an example of Catholic values in education, sports

Duchesne High School quietly has built an impressive athletic program, building on the work of past coaches and players.

Its teams have won state championships in seven sports and finished in the top four numerous times. The football squad had an 8-3 record this fall, and the girls basketball team is off to a hot start this winter. The school stresses fair play and honest, respectful competition, building students’ confidence and discipline and developing their spirituality through team prayer.

The school recently recognized two coaching legends. The football stadium was renamed Frank Barro Stadium in October, and the athletic center was named for Barro’s close friend, Ted Yeater, in January.

Barro was known as the “founding father” of the Duchesne football program and for influencing students and fellow coaches and educators. Barro founded the program in 1967, served as head football coach for 11 seasons (1967-77) and was Duchesne’s athletic director from 1973-78. He died July 10 at the age of 80. Barro, a parishioner of St. Peter in St. Charles, was instrumental in forming the Gateway Athletic Conference. He also coached basketball, track and soccer.

As was the case at the stadium named for Barro, signage on the brick wall on the outside of the school athletic center was made possible by Yeater’s former students, athletes, coaches and colleagues.

Yeater made his mark as a standout basketball and baseball player. This spring will mark 60 years since he graduated from Duchesne, where his 1962 yearbook claims his favorite possession was his slide rule and his ambition was to play sports.

He earned a math degree from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale. In 1967, he was hired by Duchesne to teach math while also coaching football, basketball and baseball. He retired in 2007, missing two years while serving in the Army, where he earned the Bronze Star during the Vietnam War.

A longtime member of St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish, Yeater today has some memory issues. He told his wife, Norma, that he couldn’t believe the school would honor him and that he was touched by it. She said he has a quiet personality and just wanted to be an example of a good Christian person for the students.

Yeater’s son, Craig Yeater, played baseball through high school with his dad as the coach. The event was heartwarming to see the love and support others have for his dad, whose approach to coaching always was positive, Craig Yeater said. He added that he learned at the event that his dad, à la baseball Hall-of-Famer Stan Musial, was never thrown out of a game or received a technical foul.

Yeater’s legacy included starting the first computer lab at the school. Ann (Johannesman) Tollefson, a 1976 Duchesne grad, came to the event honoring Yeater because of his skills as a math teacher. Girls in those days weren’t often encouraged in math, she said, but he pushed her to pursue it further. She went on to major in math and computer science at Rockhurst University in Kansas City, Missouri, one of only two women in that major there.

She recalled a time when a male student told her boys don’t like smart girls. Yeater overheard it and told her to ignore that advice. “He was willing to stand up for me and encourage me. He was the most humble, professional compassionate teacher I ever had, so consistent.”

He was the perfect teacher for a Catholic school – demonstrating Catholic values every day, Tollefson said.

Kenny retired in 2021 after nearly 40 years as a reporter at the St. Louis Review. He and his family are parishioners at St. Francis of Assisi in Oakville.

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