Friday, September 17, 2010


Coach Hammel
Columbia City, Indiana
To enlarge ~ click on the pictures


Back Home Again in Indiana

sung by Straight No Chaser

Uploaded by mikado95

Columbia City Joint High School
Sectional Winners

From the back of 1959-60 poster picture
Coach Hammel's writing

Columbia City Joint High School

My dad left planet Earth May 10, 2010 at 10:05 a.m. while he was on the telephone with me - he in Indiana, me in Rhode Island. I would have been there, had I known he was waiting to die soon. My dad gave me a close up look at someone who lived with authenticity. So, I hold him dearly in my heart.

Dad wanted so much to write a book and have it published. He had a title and had written some of it. The title was to be "Why Coach?" He wanted to tell stories about the importance of making a difference in young players lives, not by teaching them techniques and skills of ball playing, but by utilizing the sport to get to the heart of the players.

I recorded his memorial funeral service. And I hope to get it in a format to be able to share. The community newspaper sportswriter, Roger Metzger, who wrote during dad's career and a basketball player,

Keith Doudt (pictured above with Dad) spoke and made moving contributions to the ceremony.

I feel so blessed to have been the one to be "present" with dad when he let go. I have that connection and it is so precious to me. I consider this a gift that he gave to me.

Months ago I was googling and went to the high school website where I attended high school.

Dad was a teacher and coach there. And I found this alumni page, which had an email address for one of dad's basketball players. I wrote and he wrote back. I share his email below with his permission.

Columbia City Joint High School

Sectional Winners

A Tribute from Mike Barnes

A Flying Golden Eagle

Coach Mark Hammel

Sent: Mon, Jun 28, 2010
Subject: Coach Hammel

...When I saw the pictures of your dad, it brought back a flood of wonderful memories.

Columbia City Joint High School gymnasium

now called Columbia City High School

Photo taken in 2007

Photo taken in 1959

First tip off in the new CCJHS gym

Your dad influenced my life for eternity. He is the primary reason I became a teacher and a coach. I would like to share an experience with you that I had with your father. I came home from school and basketball practice one evening, and my dad was very upset with what people in the bleachers were saying about me during games. He planned on never coming to anymore of my games, because he was being embarrassed. I didn’t try to reason with my dad, but your dad had told me that if I ever needed him I was supposed to call him. I talked with my mom. Dad was not somebody that I “talked” with. That is not a criticism of my dad that is just the way it was.

Columbia City Joint High School

Sectional Winners

The names provided by Mike Barnes ~

The cheerleaders from left to right: Judy Manter, Sylvia Binkley, Judy Johnson and Joanne Bates. The mascot cheerleader: Rhonda Johnson. The first row of players from left to right: Randy Cook, Mike Barnes, Rich Mills, Mike McCoy and Tony Smith. The second row of players from left to right: Tom Smith, Harry Staley, Jeff Culp, Tom Roe and Jack Stellhorn. The managers are Danny Worrick by Coach George Kind and George Hertzel by Coach Mark Hammel. Mike Barnes number was 22 for home games and 23 for away games. Thank you, Mike!


To make a long story short, although we had a phone, I went next door to the neighbors and called your dad. As it turned out, he wasn’t home. I talked with your mother, and coach was at a meeting, but she would give him the message. Your dad came to my house that night around 9:30, and he sat at the kitchen table, and talked to my mom and dad about how important and valuable I was to our team. It was close to midnight when coach left. My dad never missed a game. When I walked out to the car to say goodbye to your dad, I thanked him and I told him that I loved him. That very night I decided what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Also, your dad planted seeds about the Lord that opened my eyes about a personal relationship with Jesus as Lord and Savior of my life.

The last time I saw coach was at my father-in-laws funeral in Columbia City in May of 2001. It was great to see him. I will never forget the positive impact your dad had on my life......

Please give my best to your family, and thank you Sandy for sharing your dad with us.


Mike (Barnes)

CCJHS class of ‘64

Photo taken in 2007

Second email ~

When I was writing about your dad’s influence in my life, I had tears in my eyes. If you want to post my story about your dad, you have my permission to use my name. ……I had a very surprising call from your mother several years ago. She put your dad on the phone, and we talked about the book he was writing or going to write. He told me I would be in the book. One of the greatest compliments I ever received came indirectly from Dewayne Kline, who had played for your dad. Dewayne said that coach ranked Mike Barnes as one of the 5 best players he had ever coached. I know Bill Schwartz was # 1, but I was shocked to learn that your dad thought I was one of his best players. I don’t think I have shared that information with anyone else. We had a great talk that Sunday evening after your mom turned the phone over to coach. That was the last time I heard his voice. Becky’s mom sent me his obituary. I would have loved to have been at any funeral or memorial service honoring “Coach Hammel.” As a coach for 30 years, my last sentence in the previous e-mail is a gigantic “thank you”, because I know the time away from family coaching requires. Your dad will always be in my heart.



I tried to find pictures which included Mike Barnes but after a few hours of searching, I have had to give up as it is nearly 2:00 a.m. Maybe, they were in the external hard drive that died.

Update ~ Found the pictures! These are pictures actually of poster-size pictures. It is likely that the actual posters have since been thrown out. So I am so excited to share them here.

Columbia City Joint High School

Basketball Varsity Team

Photo credit: South Bend Tribune

I believe this picture is of 1964 Regional Champions

Previous posts about dad - Coach Hammel


This post has several links to others of my posts about dad at the very bottom

The lake dad created and the house he built
while still coaching basketball
at Columbia City Joint High School



Louis Armstrong plays

Back Home Again in Indiana

Uploaded by pinkieldred

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