May 12, 2016
By John Heisler
Dr. Willard Yergler, a longtime team physician for the University of Notre Dame athletics program who retired in 2010 after 36 years of service, died today at Hospice House in Roseland, Indiana, due to cancer-related complications. He was 73.
Yergler worked with seven different Irish head coaches as a Notre Dame football team physician. In 1974, Yergler started with the football program and also treated athletes from all Irish sports. Besides a legacy of treating injured athletes, Yergler also personally sponsored a senior student athletic trainer award each year. In 2001 he was inducted into the Notre Dame Monogram Club as an honorary member.
Yergler grew up in Hanna, Indiana, and attended Purdue University. He graduated from the Indiana University School of Medicine in 1967 and joined South Bend Orthopaedics in 1971. He was a board-certified orthopedic surgeon, a fellow of the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery, a fellow of the American Society of Sports Medicine--and a past Director of Sports Medicine at the University of Notre Dame.
Funeral arrangements are pending.
John Heisler, senior associate athletics director at the University of Notre Dame, has been part of the Fighting Irish athletics communications team since 1978. A South Bend, Indiana, native, he is a 1976 graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and a member of the College Sports Information Directors of America Hall of Fame. He is editor of the award-winning "Strong of Heart" series.