"I know it's history being made but when I was playing basketball in high school, never did I dream that I was a pioneer and making history," said Carmella Lynn (Martin) Dunn. The Brazil Kroger pharmacist will be inducted into the Indiana Women's Basketball Hall of Fame at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis on April 25.
The 44-year-old Terre Haute resident started her basketball career at East Chicago Roosevelt High School in 1972. She averaged 35 points and 15 rebounds a game throughout her four years of varsity play.
During her senior year, Dunn's team was 32-0 going into the sectionals. She was the first female to tip-off the ball at a state final basketball game in Hinkle Fieldhouse. East Chicago Roosevelt played in the first game against Warsaw High School who eventually won that first, 1976 State Championship. Roosevelt finished third but Dunn's efforts had helped establish a basketball dynasty at East Chicago Roosevelt who took the State the following year.
Dunn was a walk-on at Purdue her freshman year. She was the first black female to play for the Purdue team. At that time there was no recruiting at Purdue even though scholarships were given.
"My coach, Ruth Jones, had promised me a scholarship my third year," Dunn said. "But they started recruiting that year and Jones opted to by-pass me and gave the scholarships to new recruits.
"Coach Jones said that I could probably get a good scholarship at another school. I was very angry and felt like I had been used," Dunn continued. "I told her, I came here for an education not to play basketball. Pharmacy was my focus. I had worked too hard to get into the pharmacy school and I wasn't going to transfer. So I quit the basketball team but stayed at Purdue and got my pharmacology degree.
"I did get certified as a referee and officiated at high school games and intramural games at Purdue. That allowed me to earn spending money and gave me the opportunity to be around the sport that I still loved."
Dunn said she was always aggressive by nature and is still very competitive and takes that to the work force.
"That's why I'm the manager," she smiled. "I love my job. Every day I wake up knowing my day will be different. I'm a people person and I love the contact with people here at the pharmacy. When a customer comes back and says the advice I gave them worked and they thank me, that makes my day." Dunn beamed.
"I'd like to give credit to my parents, especially my Mom. She always said to get your own. Be independent, get an education, get your own support system so you don't have to worry about anyone else taking care of you," Dunn explained.
"One time I thought of quitting pharmacy school. My mom called me a coward. That really got me fired up. So I stayed and got that degree."
Dunn was one of 14 players on the first Silver Anniversary Team last year. Six of those 14 were selected for the Hall of Fame. A player has to be on the Silver Anniversary team to be eligible for the Hall of Fame.
"I'm so overwhelmed with it all," said Dunn. "I'm almost at a loss for words. Never did I believe when I was playing basketball at East Chicago Roosevelt High School that I was making history."