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Chris Tingle may have made the most unusual transition from high school football to college football in Henry County sports history.
Tingle, who also excelled at basketball and baseball, was an All-State Honorable Mention and All-NCKC conference selection in his playing days as a quarterback and linebacker for the Eminence Warriors. When Tingle continued his playing career at the University of Evansville in the mid-1980s he became an Academic All-Conference selection as an offensive lineman.
The athletically gifted boy turned into a rather large and gifted young man. By his senior season at Eminence he was beginning to look more like a lineman than a quarterback, but his leadership and skills dictated that he continue as a quarterback. By his sophomore season in college, there was no one who would question that he had the physique of a lineman.
“Evansville recruited me as a linebacker,” Tingle said. “Once I got there our offensive linemen had some injuries and I was asked to try offensive guard. I went from my quarterback/linebacker physique to lineman size in order to make the transition. Then I moved out to offensive tackle my junior and senior year.”
Perhaps more impressive than his football transition, was his transition to adulthood. After graduating from Evansville with a degree in electrical engineering, Tingle found work in the aerospace engineering industry with McDonnell-Douglas, which later merged with Boeing.
“I am currently the senior manager for the Hardware Design Integrated Product Team for Boeing Training Systems and Government Services,” Tingle said. “I am responsible for the electrical and mechanical engineering efforts for all of the various training simulation devices that Boeing builds in St. Louis, Seattle, Philadelphia and Mesa, Ariz.”
Tingle and his team build training simulation devices for the United States military and several other countries around the world. “We provide training equipment for the F-15, F/A-18, C-17, F-22, Apache, Chinook, P-8, T-38, T-45, F-16 and several other ground based training systems for the U.S. Army,” he said. “My team is responsible for the engineering design and manufacturing effort for their equipment.”
Tingle’s work has taken him all over the world. “I have traveled and worked with the United States military (army, navy and Marines) and foreign military customers”, Tingle said. “In my 24 years with McDonnell-Douglas and Boeing I have traveled to Saudi Arabia, Canada, Australia, South Korea, Singapore, the United Arab Emirates, Germany and Kuwait.
“Our training devices are utilized to teach both maintenance and aircrews the skills required to ensure missions are completed with great success.”
Despite all the travel in what must be a time consuming job, Tingle has not turned his back on his love of sports. Over the years he and his wife Sheila, also an Eminence native, have been involved in youth sports in their adopted hometown of Staunton, Ill. “I was part of a group that created the youth football program in our community and have been president of the Jaguar youth football program and head coach of various teams for the past 14 years,” he said. “The youth football program provides the opportunity for children in grades 3rd through 8th to participate in football and cheerleading. I have also been president of the South Central Conference Youth Football organization for the past eight years. I have also been an assistant varsity football coach in recent years.
“Sheila currently is a paraprofessional for the trainable mentally handicapped children at Staunton High School. She was a cheerleading sponsor for the Jaguar cheerleaders for 12 years and was a part of the Staunton baseball/softball Little League for 12 years.”
As if traveling around the world and designing important military training equipment and working extensively in youth sports was not enough, Tingle has also been involved with the education of the children of Staunton as well. He has been a member of the Staunton Community School Board of Education for the past six years and is currently the vice-president of the board. He has also been a member of the Staunton Park Board as part of the Staunton City Council.
The Tingles have two sons, Joshua, 20, and Matthew, 17. Joshua is a junior at the University of Missouri studying pre-law. He plans to study International Business Law. Matthew is a senior at Staunton High School and plays baseball and football. He plans to study computer engineering in college.
Tingle credits many people from his past with shaping him into the person that he has become. “My family, coaches, teachers and community prepared me with many life lessons throughout my high school and college career,” he said. “My coaches and teachers (both high school and college) taught me to stick with your dreams and never give up. Playing football and taking electrical engineering classes was definitely difficult and challenging, however, I wouldn’t change my experiences at Eminence High School and the University of Evansville for anything.”
But it is his family to whom Tingle gives the most credit. “My parents and grandparents taught me to always treat others with respect and that you could achieve anything in life as long as you were willing to work hard for it,” he said. “Sheila and I have tried to teach these lessons to our kids and the players that I have coached over the years.
“I want to especially thank my parents, Tommy and Charlsie Tingle, for all of the sacrifices that they made over the years, all the long drives to every game I ever played during my career and for always being there for me when I needed them. When people ask me why I do the things I do for the kids in our community, I always answer because that is what I was taught growing up to do. Thanks, Mom and Dad.”
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