By Travis Miller
Peru — Former Purdue men’s basketball coach Gene Keady still can command a room.
Saturday afternoon, the South Miami Kiwanis Club hosted the second annual Pat Keady Memorial Golf Outing at Rock Hollow Golf Club. The outing, which also included a silent auction, raised $15,152 for scholarships in the name of Gene Keady’s wife, Pat, who passed away in 2009 after a lengthy battle with cancer.
“The next prize is an autographed basketball by coach Matt Painter, which I’ll have to mail to you because I am a [forgetful person],” said Keady as he worked the room with his usual aplomb. “I left it in my car. It’s signed, so just give me your address and I will mail it to you.”
The golf outing was founded last year in order to raise scholarship money for Maconaquah High School graduates who wished to attend Purdue University. Carlee Glassburn and Justin Hunt received this year’s scholarships and will head to Purdue in the fall.
“With coach Keady able to pick any high school for scholarships, it is pretty close to a miracle,” said event organizer Herschel Gulley. “My father-in-law was a former member of the College All-Star team back in 1938 [Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer Pat Malaska]. Coach Keady also tried to recruit my son [Rob Gulley] to play with Matt Waddell and Glenn Robinson as a walk-on. Rob decided not to play at Purdue, but that relationship through coach Keady and the Kiwanis has lasted since then.”
Several items were up for a silent auction at the event, as well as some excellent door prizes for the post golf raffle. Among the items up for bid was a round trip for four from Grissom Air Reserve Base to New York and courtside seats for a game this coming college basketball season. Keady, who is now an assistant to Steve Lavin at St. John’s, assisted in setting up that item.
Other items were a signed basketball by former Purdue star Carl Landry, who now plays for the New Orleans Hornets, a signed pair of shoes from the Indiana Pacers’ Jeff Foster, and a seven-night, eight-day vacation at a resort of the winner’s choosing.
Participants could also buy a $50 card worth $50 off of their next hotel stay through Expedia, and $25 of that purchase would go to the scholarship fund.
“I’m very pleased. It was a fantastic turnout [Saturday],” said Keady. “Herschel and Sue Gulley do a great job of staying on top of things. It’s for a really great cause in sending young people to college in my wife’s memory. That’s very special to me.”
Keady, who now spends six months of the year in Lafayette and the other six months in New York for his coaching duties, was pleased to participate with several Purdue fans, and also quick to defend the Boilermakers’ honor with any Indiana fans in attendance. Former Kokomo and Lewis Cass basketball coach Basil Mawbey was among those in attendance.
“Having that relationship from recruiting my son helped us a lot,” said Herschel Gulley. “Coach Keady once drove over 600 miles round trip to talk to us when he wanted Rob to [walk on]. When we wanted to set this up, we asked several other agencies to help, but they wanted the money for their general fund. Coach wanted it for scholarships, and we were able to set things up for him.”
The team of Kevin Russell, Blake Russell, Jim Ousley and Brad Chesterman were the team winners of the scramble, with the team of Kurt Kiefer, Chuck Bellar, Jim Murphy, and Jeff Zimmerman coming in second.
Keady was pleased with the overall turnout, even though it fell short of the $1 million goal that some had set for the event. Had they reached that goal, Keady’s famous combover would have disappeared as he had agreed to shave his head if that happened.
“If this thing gets any bigger, we’re going to have to move it,” said Keady. “I hope that happens, so we’ll see.”