Legendary Carmel coach inducted into Indiana Football Hall of Fame
By Gary Boskovich
Since arriving at its current location in 1958, Carmel’s high school football team is typically ranked as one of the top programs in the state.
And its ongoing success can be traced back to Dick Nyers, who coached that 1958 team to a 5-5 record. That squad consisted of a mere 29 players.
Nyers would continue coaching at Carmel until 1967, compiling an overall record of 69–24–5.
But his winning percentage might not be his most lasting accomplishment. That likely belongs to his work helping to found the Carmel Dads’ Club during the 1958–59 season.
The Dad’s Club has grown to become one of the best feeder systems in the state – and not only for football, but for all Carmel high school sports. Many successful high school athletes honed their skills participating in Dads’ Club programs.
For all those reasons and more Dick Nyers was inducted into the Indiana Football Hall of Fame June 12.
And it’s not the first award he’s gotten this year. Nyers was honored by the Central Indiana division of the National Football Foundation as the recipient of the Distinguished American Award.
Before entering the coaching picture at Carmel, Nyers was considered one of the premier athletes in the state of Indiana. While attending Manual High School, he competed in basketball, football, baseball and track, earning 13 varsity letters in the 4 sports combined.
Nyers made the All City Team in football his senior year in high school when he accounted for 66 of the team’s 78 points scored that year. He made the All City Team in basketball 3 years in a row and graduated from Manual in 1952 as the school’s career scoring leader.
Nyers attended Indiana Central College – now the University of Indianapolis – and participated in football, basketball and baseball all 4 years and track for 2 years. There he earned 14 letters in all – feat unequalled in the history of the university since that time.
It was also there that he had one of his greatest athletic accomplishments.
“I played on the only undefeated football team that Indiana Central has ever had. I was also second in the nation in scoring,” Nyers said.
In addition, he was honored in 1954 for basketball being among the 10 best players in NCAA District 4 by Look Magazine. He joined the likes of other honorees which included Bevo Francis, Don Schlundt and Bobby “Slick” Leonard.
After graduating from Indiana Central, Nyers was signed by the Baltimore Colts of the fledgling National Football League.
“Playing with the Baltimore Colts for two years for a man my size is a great accomplishment,” he said.
And there’s a little known fact that puts Nyers in the NFL history book – as a running back he caught the first touchdown pass ever thrown by legendary Colts quarterback Johnny Unitas.
Once his playing days ended and when he was in need of work, Nyers turned to coaching.
Carmel High School provided Nyers with his first coaching opportunity when he was just 23 years old. And he was quickly hooked.
“I still follow Carmel in every sport that they play and still remain in touch with kids that played for me,” he said.
One former player Nyers stays connected with is Kendrick “Tad” Sinnock who played quarterback for him the first two years he coached at Carmel. They golf together regularly during the summer and remain good friends.
Sinnock said that when Nyers first arrived at Carmel he brought things like facemasks and much better “everything.”
“He really upgraded the program tremendously and he brought the Baltimore Colts offense with him…really a step up (from) where we had been,” Sinnock said.
Nyers not only coached football at Carmel, he taught there as well. And to demonstrate his popularity as a teacher, Sinnock recalls the story of what happened when Nyers announced his engagement.
“All the girls in the junior class wore black the next day,” Sinnock said. “They were all sad he decided to marry somebody.”
The mourning over his being taken “out of circulation” was widespread.
Nyers said, “Beyond a doubt, Carmel was probably my greatest success, and it was one that I truly loved.”