‘My loyalty is as deep as it can get’
Three weeks ago, the 87th edition of the Masters took place in Augusta, Georgia with Spaniard Jon Rahm walking away wearing the coveted Green Jacket. The official Instagram page of The Masters—with more than 1.3 million followers—kept the sports world engaged with nonstop photo coverage of the four-day tournament. But out of all the photos shared during the week, none got more traction among the Wabash community than that of a Masters superfan donning an iconic green and gold cap, adorned with more than 38 hatpins—beloved Wally Wabash and the iconic Wabash “W” pinned front and center.
But who is the man under the hat? The answer is none other than Wabash alumnus Joe Kiley ’61, whose obvious love for golf is only overshadowed by his love for his alma mater.
Kiley arrived at Wabash after a single semester at Notre Dame, interrupted by a four-year stint serving the United States in the Korean War in the Navy. After his service, he could have gone back to Notre Dame, the school that all his family had attended.
“But [I] decided at the last minute to stay at Wabash,” said Kiley. “And that was the best decision of my life.”
While at Wabash, Kiley donned his first pin-filled hat as a member of the Sphinx Club. He also spent his Wabash days as a proud brother of Phi Delta Theta and—you guessed it—an avid golfer on the golf team.
Kiley spent the next 47 years in the insurance industry in Kokomo after graduation. Upon retirement, he got involved in the Service Club of Indianapolis and he now lives on the north side of Indy. His current daily life is one to be envied: “I have been retired for 23 years, and I play golf five times a week.”
Kiley loves to donate and give back to the college that he is so proud of, and he has for the past 67 years.
“I have never missed a year donating to Wabash,” said Kiley. “I wish I was richer so I could give you all more. My loyalty is as deep as it can get.”
Kiley sees the quality of Wabash men as being some of the best in Indiana, and he believes that Wabash truly sets its graduates up for the future.
“I tell everybody that I will take our graduates up against any school in the state,” says Kiley. “This is the best group of people in the world. I am very proud of being a graduate of Wabash.”
Kiley’s love for Wabash is apparent even after graduating over a half-century ago. He is sure to represent Wabash at each Masters tournament he attends for the rest of his life.
“If you quote me on anything, I just love Wabash,” said Kiley.