“He had a lot of credibility because he was a very good player in his own right,” Mr. Kehoe said.
Mr. Meredith quickly fostered an energetic atmosphere. He required players to wear costumes for Halloween practice. He bought bagels and extra food on his own dime for long bus rides to away games, while good-naturedly enduring the film “Dirty Dancing” at his players’ behest.
Yale enjoyed success in the mid-2000s, with the 2005 team reaching the third round of the N.C.A.A. tournament, knocking out third-seeded Duke in the process. Mr. Meredith coached several Ivy League players of the year and an all-American second-teamer who was profiled by ESPN. Meredith Speck, class of 2015, was the first Yale player in the National Women’s Soccer League, according to Yale’s alumni magazine.
“The thing I remember is how professionally he treated us,” said Theryn Gibbons, who was a member of Meredith’s first recruiting class in 1996 and now ranks third on Yale’s scoring list. “Refs were calling me Babe, and Rudy was never like that — we were athletes. He was very respectful, very sensitive.”
If anything, Ms. Gibbons said, Mr. Meredith sometimes seemed intimidated by the aura of Yale, and tried hard to be liked.
“He’s not sophisticated by any means, and I know he would defer to people who he thought were smarter,” said Ms. Gibbons, who later became a federal prosecutor. “He’s very trusting, and gullible for sure.”
She added, “I’m not condoning what is alleged, but he’s family, and you stand by family.”
Mr. Meredith’s wife, Eva Bergsten Meredith, was also a familiar presence at Yale soccer events. A former national team player for Sweden, she is the longtime women’s soccer coach at Wesleyan, and has also run, with her husband, a soccer camp, Bulldog Cardinal Summer Camp, for many years.