A film of champions: WFYI documentary to share history of Carmel Dads’ Club
By Michelle Williams
It all started when members of the Carmel Dads’ Club realized conflicting information existed about the beginnings of their organization.
That led member Dan Chapman to make a spur-of-the-moment decision to research the matter and write a book about it with co-author Pam Shepherd Otten. Now that book is turning into a documentary produced by WFYI.
Barbara Duke Sama, a 1967 CHS grad and director of corporate development at WFYI, came across the book and has partnered with Good Vibes Media to produce the 30-minute film, which is still in development.
“The growth of sports in Carmel parallels the growth of the city.” Duke Sams said.
The premise of the book, and ultimately the documentary, is that the youth sports program helped fuel the growth of the town. The book explains how the Carmel Dads’ Club was a progressive organization that preceded the national movement of similar youth sports programs.
“When the Dads’ Club started, Carmel was a town of a couple thousand people. There have been a lot of factors that have made Carmel one of the most desirable places to live in the country, but I think you can look at the Carmel Dads’ Club as one of those key factors.” film producer Michael Husain said.
Although the fundraising goal of $35,000 is yet to be met, production started in June during a reunion event at Carmel VFW Post 10003. Former CHS football coach Dick Nyers spoke to a group of student athletes and various alumni of the high school and the sports club during the time period covered in the book.
“You look back at a favorite teacher or favorite coach, and a lot of people look back at Dick Nyers as one of those people. He was heavily involved in the beginnings of the Dads’ Club.” Husain said. “The best sports documentaries are really just human documentaries. They happen to involve people who would do things on a field or on a court.”
With the help of Chapman and Shepherd Otten’s extensive research for the book, the storyline for the film is well-developed. However, Duke Sams said the production team is still actively looking for photos, videos and other vintage materials relevant to the time period of the documentary.
WFYI believes the film could potentially garner interest on the national level.
“Indiana is celebrating the bicentennial in 2016, so this fits in that genre of historical narrative about the establishment of Indiana.” Duke Sams said. The film will be shared with other PBS stations in Indiana as well as other states.
“Carmel has become a town of excellence due in large part [to] these men back in the ‘50s who had a vision for a sports program that, little did they know, would change the whole course of Carmel.” Chapman said.
Production on the film is expected to wrap up by the end of 2015, and it may air as early as January of February of 2016.
Businesses or individuals interested in donations, corporate sponsorships or providing supporting materials for the film may contact Barbara Duke Sams at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-636-2020.
- Producer Michael Husain has won several Emmy awards for his previous work with the ESPN series, Sports Century.
- Barbara Duke Sams’ father, Basil Duke, was a baseball and basketball coach in the Carmel Dads’ Club in the early 1960s.
- Duke Sams first learned about the book through a post on Facebook.
- The Carmel Dads’ Club is exploring the possibility of other books covering the history from 1970 through today.
- Carmel High School’s first IHSAA state championship was in boys golf, and the school has secured 137 additional state championships since.