SPARTANBURG, S.C. – They called him “Mean Wile” in school, and all feared him. Edward B. (Ed) Wile liked it that way.
As a young man being raised in a poor household by a workaholic, single mother, anger raged inside him. Despite that anger, and his bullying reputation, Wile was a star athlete whose high school coach convinced him that attending college on a football scholarship was his best way out.
That college was Wofford College. Wile of Atlanta, who graduated in 1973, now is in the Wofford Athletic Hall of Fame and is a member of the college’s Top 40 All-Time Football Team. He also was named to Outstanding College Athletes of America.
Now, Wile, a member of the Wofford Board of Trustees and retired as senior vice president of UBS Financial Services Inc., has written a book about his journey through his days as an angry young man turned exceptional, albeit still angry, college athlete to a husband whose alcoholism and violence nearly ruined his marriage and his career prospects. “Mean to Meaningful” follows Wile’s path as he overcame his demons and other obstacles to succeed as a businessman, a family man, a mentor and a philanthropist.
Wile is donating all of the proceeds from the sale of the book to Wofford to assist student-athletes. “I’m doing this for them, because someone did it for me and it changed my life,” he says. The first-time author describes his book, which took him more than a decade to write, as an “uplifting memoir (that) chronicles the metamorphosis of an angry, violence-prone teenager into a successful businessman. Along the way, it movingly describes how a beautiful young woman (his wife, Vickey) and a few priceless ‘God winks’ helped him become a respectable husband, father and leader.”
Harold Chandler, a 1971 Wofford graduate and former chairman of the college’s board of trustees, was a teammate of Wiles at Wofford, but became much more. “He was a defensive back, and I was a quarterback. We should have been opponents; instead, over many years, we grew to be loving brothers, through service to Wofford by raising student scholarships, to memorable family fellowships including his wife, Vickey, and my wife, Delores. So, you may understand that reading his book was painful for me. Learning so late the pain he endured so early. Friends should ask, how could I have done more? In the end, you ultimately realize that Ed and Vickey built a beautiful life through extraordinary love for each other, being resilient, never giving up on themselves or each other. So, for me, this is a book about heroes. Ed and Vickey are my heroes and will be forever.
“‘Mean to Meaningful’ defines hope and outcomes in ways that all readers ultimately can relate,” Chandler continues. “In that regard, it is, for sure, a textbook on life.”
“Mean to Meaningful” can be purchased on Amazon or CreateSpace, with proceeds going to Wofford College.
Wile will have a number of book readings and/or signings on campus and in Spartanburg this week:
Wednesday, Oct. 18, 5:30 p.m. – reading and signing at Hub City Bookstore in downtown Spartanburg
Friday, Oct. 20, 7 p.m. – Homecoming Weekend, Terrier Ball Auction and Gala, Spartanburg Marriott, downtown Spartanburg. Wile will have “Mean to Meaningful” books at a table at the event, and the book will be available for purchase through the Terrier Ball mobile bidding website during the event.
Saturday, Oct. 21, 11:15-11:30 a.m. – Homecoming Weekend. Wile will sell and sign books in a tent front of Main Building.
Saturday, Oct. 21, 11:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. – Homecoming Weekend. Wile will have a reading in Leonard Auditorium, Main Building at Wofford