Giving Back to Athletics

TU’s 1969 football team members (above) in 2014 and (below) in 1969.

Honoring the past with a gift for future student-athletes

John Yingling ’71

Nearly 50 years ago John Yingling ’71 donned a Tiger uniform and stepped onto the field as a member of Towson University’s first football team. Now the insurance executive is taking steps to ensure that TU student-athletes will have a new practice field as well as scholarship support.

Yingling spent two years at what is now Wesley College before transferring to TU in 1968.

Many of his teammates were also junior college transfers, a similarity that united the group.

Or perhaps the players knew they were the beginning of a Towson football legacy.

Yingling still feels the exhilaration of his time at Towson and remains close with some of his 1969 teammates. “There’s nothing better than having those connections from 50 years ago,” he says. “You can never erase those memories.”

After graduation, Yingling’s focus shifted. He raised a family with his wife, Sharon Yingling ’71, while he worked to build Crawford Yingling Insurance, a fourth-generation family owned business in Westminster. He also played semi-professional football for the Carroll County Chargers. All of this kept his attention away from TU until he began working with Dan Crowley, athletics chief development officer, to reunite the 1969 football team for their 45th anniversary in 2014.

With football’s 50th anniversary approaching, Yingling decided to make a significant gift to support athletics. Half of his gift supports student-athlete scholarships, while the other half is the first gift to support an athletics practice field. Crowley, says Yingling, “has taken a significant first step in helping us raise funds for this project.”

Now, five teams share TU’s one artificial turf field, which is incredibly challenging given the class schedules maintained by our scholar-athletes. Crowley says, “Building this new facility will provide far greater flexibility to our teams, creating an optimal experience for Tigers now and in the future. It has a direct link to scholar-athlete excellence and competitiveness.”

Yingling is pleased to be a part of this project. “Towson gave so much to me in academics and athletics that I have to give back,” he notes. “I’m excited to be a part of moving the next 50 years of Towson athletics forward.”

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