Michael Yeakey, speech and debate coach at Bethany Christian Schools, was inducted into the Indiana High School Forensics Association Hall of Fame on September 6 as part of IHSFA’s annual meeting and coaches’ clinic. Also inducted were Sarah McKenzie of Lincoln Middle School in Plymouth, Ind., and John Love, recently retired from Carmel High School.
Yeakey served at Westview High School for nine years and is now in his fifth year at Bethany Christian, starting and developing solid speech and debate programs at both schools. In 2011 he coached Bethany Christian’s two-year-old speech team to a sixth-place finish in Class A at the state tournament. That same year, Bethany Christian was granted charter membership in the National Forensic League (NFL), which is quite unusual since membership reflects sustained commitment to speech and debate education.
Also in 2011 Yeakey received the Distinguished Service Key from the NFL – at that time one of only 313 coaches out of tens of thousands since 1925 to earn this honor. Then in March 2012 Yeakey received an NFL diamond pin in recognition of a career that combines excellence and longevity.
Bill Hicks, IHSFA executive secretary emeritus who is in charge of the Hall of Fame, notes additional factors in Yeakey’s nomination and subsequent selection into the Hall of Fame: Yeakey’s dedication to his students and their success, his offering a series of after-school tournaments at Bethany to help schools get off to a quick start and build their memberships, his efforts to reach out to area programs to help the Northeast and Northwest Indiana NFL districts to grow chapter sizes and encourage new programs, and his service to the IHSFA and NFL organizations. Yeakey currently serves on the district committee for the Northwest District of the NFL and on the state executive committee for IHSFA.