Doug Yarnall, legendary Mitchell College coach, teacher and athletic director, dies at 83
New London — Mitchell College announced the passing of Doug Yarnall on Friday.
Yarnall, 83, spent 37 years at Mitchell, including 26 as athletic director and chair of the Physical Education department.
He also served as a faculty member, intramural director and men’s basketball coach.
Yarnall retired in 2001, the same year he was inducted into the school’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He was also inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009, and Mitchell’s athletic center bears his name.
Mitchell, a two-year institution during Yarnall’s tenure, became one of the most respected National Junior College Athletic Association programs in the country. Yarnall was responsible for adding five academic majors in athletics and expanding from four men’s teams to 13 men’s and women’s varsity sports.
“Douglas Yarnall was my mentor, a colleague and a friend,” said Dean Roberts, assistant professor of Sport and Fitness Management, in a release. “He hired me as a full-time faculty member and soccer and baseball coach in August of 1987. Doug was the most influential person in my professional career. He was always there to guide and support me during my early years at Mitchell College.
“He will be dearly missed.”
Todd Peretz, Mitchell’s current associate athletic director and men’s head basketball coach, was also hired by Yarnall in 1999 and helped oversee Mitchell’s transition from a junior college program to a four-year NCAA Division III program that is currently a member of the New England Collegiate Conference.
“I will always be thankful for the wonderful opportunity to be a part of the department that he built,” Peretz said. “He was a true mentor on and off the court, and to this day the life and professional lessons he shared with me are still my guiding principles.”
Mitchell won three NJCAA national championships and numerous New England Region 21 titles during Yarnall’s tenure. He also served as the NJCAA New England Region 21 men’s director for 10 years.
“Doug Yarnall was a tireless worker and a man of the highest integrity,” said Dan Mara, former women’s basketball coach at Mitchell and currently the commissioner of the NCAA Division II Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference. “He dedicated over 35 years to Mitchell and created an athletic program that impacted the lives of generations of Mitchell students.
“Although Mitchell won many regional and national championships during his tenure, Doug’s primary concern was that the program be an important part of the student-athlete’s educational experience.
Yarnall, who lived in Quaker Hill, is survived by his wife, Heather, a retired New London High School guidance counselor, as well as a daughter, Heidi Yarnall Crowell, and son, Bruce Yarnall.
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