Ball State's golf program held a dedication ceremony at 10 a.m. Saturday to introduce the new Earl Yestingsmeier Golf Center to the public.

Earl Yestingsmeier was the patriarch of Ball State golf for more than 50 years. He spent his entire professional career working for his alma mater. He started as a sports information director in 1959 and became golf coach in 1963. Yestingsmeier led Ball State men's golf for 36 years until retirement in 1998. 

Yestingsmeier remained one of Ball State's biggest fans until he died in January 2014.

"It certainly means an opportunity for our athletes to excel on the golf course every day," said President Geoffrey S. Mearns. "But it also signifies something even more profound, at least to me."

Mearns was one of four speakers to address the new building and what it means for the Ball State athletic program. 

"It's not just a building, it's a tribute to a man who made great contributions to our university," Mearns said. "Not just in sports, but to the culture and spirit of the institution as well. Today, we have the opportunity to bring that legacy into our second century and I'm sure he would be very proud. His family is very proud and we're very grateful."

Amidst a packed facility, members of the Ball State athletic program attended the ceremony to show the golf program their support. 

"The turnout speaks volumes for the admiration and respect that pretty much everyone here has for coach," said Mike Fleck, Ball State men's golf head coach. "For the alumni, all the donors and the Ball State community to come, it just blows me away. We're super blessed to have this facility and hope our guys and girls understand what it means to have to our programs."

Other speakers at the event included Ball State women's golf coach Katherine Mowat, a group of members from the board of trustees and Earl Yestingsmeier's family members. 

The Yestingsmeier Golf Center provides a space for Ball State men's and women's golf, is north of Bethel Avenue near Scheumann Stadium. 

The 6,400-square-foot facility includes a 20-by-20-foot golfing simulator to analyze the athletes' flight of the golf ball, a 2,200-square-foot putting green and chipping area, club repair room, and a 20-by-40-foot area with four hitting bays and putting labs.

The complex will be home to the men's and women's golf programs as they prepare for their seasons. 

Contact Kara Biernat with comments at karabiernat@gmail.com or on Twitter at @karabiernat