Indiana Wesleyan senior golfer Jake Coffey was shocked when he did not make the NAIA championships last season.
The Columbus North graduate qualified for nationals as team with the Wildcats his freshman year, then became an individual qualifier his sophomore year. Coffey went into last season looking to make it three for three but ended up having the worst year of his collegiate career.
Not only did he not make it back to nationals, but Coffey said he didn’t have many good finishes throughout his junior year, either. Luckily, he had another year to get that sour taste out of his mouth.
Coffey started this year on the right track with a team win earlier this season and earning medalist honors in another match. Coffey, who has been playing golf since he was 13, is looking to end his golf career on a high note by making it back to nationals in his last year as a Wildcat.
Indiana Wesleyan will have to win the Crossroads League Championship, which starts today, in order to make that happen. Coach Lorne Oke said the toughest competition will be Taylor University. Indiana Wesleyan competed against Taylor last week and were not too far from beating them.
“They’ve got talented kids,” Oke said. “We feel like we’ve got a chance. If Taylor stubs their toe at all, we can be right there taking a run at them.
Coffey said the conference has become much better since his freshman year and knows he will have to be at the top of his game in order to get to nationals. With his graduation being Friday, Coffey already has set himself up for life after college when the season is over.
Playing on the Indiana Wesleyan golf team has allowed Coffey to learn skills that he can take to the professional world. He is the Wildcats’ only senior, and Oke said he has become a great leader for the team. He said the younger guys are able to model after Coffey’s work ethic, and he has been a major asset into helping the team grow.
“As a leader on the team, the guys kind of look up to me because of the experience I’ve had in golf, and they can kind of see how I practice and my work ethic,” Coffey said. “It’s just nice to be in that atmosphere for my entire sports career.”
The finance and accounting major will be taking that work ethic and is planning on working as an auditor for the Indiana State Board of Accountants once he leaves campus. Coffey has not taken much time to think about the fact that his days are numbered at Indiana Wesleyan because he said it hasn’t really hit him yet.
Coffey said he will probably begin to reflect after graduation and after his golf career comes to a close. As of right now, his only focus is competing well today and Tuesday at Pine Valley Country Club in Fort Wayne.
“I’m really happy I went there and really thankful for all of the relationships I made.” Coffey said. “It’s really been fun playing golf here.”
Name: Jake Coffey
High school: Columbus North
School: Indiana Wesleyan
Majors: Finance and accounting
Coming up: Coffey will lead Indiana Wesleyan into the Crossroads League Championships today and Tuesday at Pine Valley Country Club in Fort Wayne. His brother Ian is a junior on the St. Francis team that will be hosting the event.