Ball State’s new football coach for barely a month, Mike Neu is still in the process of settling in and memorizing players’ names.
On Jan. 7, Ball State named Neu, a 1989 Perry Meridian High School graduate, as its 17th head coach in the program’s history, which dates back to 1924. Neu succeeds Pete Lembo, who after five seasons in Muncie elected to become assistant head coach and special teams coordinator at the University of Maryland.
For someone raised on the southside of Indianapolis and has family in Johnson County, Neu, now married and the father of three children ranging from 5- to 15-years old, is thrilled for the opportunity to again put his stamp on the university that means so much to him.
Youngest of eight children, it’s safe to assume Neu already has his ardent supporters.
Neu’s parents moved to Lamb Lake in Trafalgar shortly after he began his playing career. After Neu’s father passed away in 2002, Mike’s brother, Mark, purchased the property and continues to live there today.
“I do have cousins on the southside. A lot of them do go to Roncalli (High School),” Neu said. “I’ve got a brother who lives in Trafalgar and nephews living in the Southport and Greenwood areas, so I do have family in the Indianapolis area.”
A four-year starter at quarterback at Ball State from 1990-93, the 6-foot-5 Neu shattered numerous program passing records, including career yardage with 6,271. He led the Cardinals to the Las Vegas Bowl and was also named Mid-American Conference Player of the Year and Offensive Player of the Year as a senior.
He then played one season in the Canadian Football League for the Calgary Stampeders, followed by single seasons in the Arena Football League (AFL) for the Orlando Predators and Nashville Kats.
Neu started his journey back to Ball State by serving various coaching roles starting in 1998 in Nashville. Then came Augusta, the Carolina Cobras and, finally, the head coaching job for the New Orleans VooDoo from 2004-08.
He eventually latched on with the New Orleans Saints as the quarterbacks coach. This meant working with former Purdue University All-American and nine-time NFL All-Pro selection Drew Brees on a daily basis.
Then Ball State called, and Neu wasn’t about to pass up the chance to work at his alma mater.
THE NEU FILE
Name: Mike Neu
Born: Beech Grove, Indiana
Family: Wife, Charmin; daughter, Graycen, 15; sons, Carson, 13, and Chase, 5
High school: Perry Meridian H.S. – 1989
College: Ball State University – 1994
Major: Sports Administration
Favorite TV show: “SportsCenter”
Favorite food: Mexican
Favorite movie: “The Program”
Favorite athlete: Drew Brees
Favorite team: Indianapolis Colts