Six months into our little journey, myself and my director of photography were asking ourselves what is the end game? What do we want to see happen when we are finished and the dust settles? After a little back and forth i tossed out “I’d like to see a bronze bust at the entrance to the dome” to which Donny replied “me too…you think that’s possible? ” My reply was “probably not” and we left it on a some what ”wouldn’t it be cool” note and got back to work, much to our surprise the wheels would soon be in motion.
Sometime in the early spring of 2012 I received a call to attend a meeting on campus without really knowing what the purpose was. As we all got settled in I learned that the topic of a bronze bust was not only an idea but a 100% funded reality and had the full support of University administration…say what? Close friends of Coach Shipley along with members of the local community hit the ground running and within weeks a sculptor had been lined up and the Shipley family would begin the process of something many thought could never happen. The university would unveil a life sized bronze bust of Beryl Shipley inside the Cajun Dome on November 11, 2012.
Among the excitement of the upcoming unveiling ceremony one thing stuck out like a sore thumb-November 2012. After much back and forth on what now seems like a no brainer, we decided to forgo our 2012 deadline for festival submission to accommodate the unveiling ceremony into the doc. The only problem was the bust was to remain top secret so we couldn’t tell anyone what the reasoning was for us delaying the release until 2013.
We arrived with cameras ready to shoot the private unveiling which was attended by close friends, family, University officials and the good people of Slemco who made the whole project a reality. Guests were treated to a short list of speakers including university president Dr. Savoie, the Shipley family, former players Dean Church and Jimmy Dykes along with Former coach Tom Cox as well as current coach Bob Marlin as they gave personal accounts of why this day was something to be cherished in the history of Cajuns basketball and how it was not only a day of tribute but also a day of relief for some. As the speeches drew to a close the moment we had all been waiting for happened. Delores Shipley stepped up to the veiled statue and slowly drew back the red cloth. In that moment the thin line that had separated Coach Shipley from the university he poured his life into was gone.
Coach Bob Marlin added a nice touch by hanging a banner to honor Coach Shipley inside the Cajun Dome. So much has happened this past year that is hard to wrap our heads around but this very predicament is a welcomed adversity. While some say “it’s about time” I say thank you and I will assume the Shipley family shares my thoughts. Now that the cat is out of the bag check out a few pics from the event as well as a couple of write ups about something most people thought would never happen.