Screenwriter Angelo Pizzo had great success with the 1986 basketball movie, Hoosiers.
Then, another success with the 1993 movie, Rudy, the underdog story of Notre Dame football walk on, Dan Ruettiger.
That almost didn't happen, as Ruettiger said he had to talk Pizzo into writing the screenplay for Rudy, after Pizzo reportedly said he would never do another sports story.
Now, PIzzo is embarking on yet another sports story, and an Iowa farm family and an Iowa girls high school basketball team will be the stars.
Angelo Pizzo will write a screenplay about the 1956 season, which saw the Maynard High School girls win the State Championship, led by Carolyn Nicholson.
The movie will be based on the 2013 book, Maynard 8 Miles, by Brian J. Borland, which highlights an Iowa farm family and the immense impact of 6 on 6 girls basketball in Iowa in the 1950's.
In a press release, Angelo Pizzo said, “I loved Brian’s book and thought immediately that here was an opportunity to write a sports story from the female vantage point, something I’ve never done.”
Pizzo added, "Very few people know how special girls’ basketball was in Iowa during the ’50s. This book captures that uniqueness in a heartfelt and triumphant way.”
Borland's book features the remarkable basketball career of Maynard native Carolyn Nicholson Borland, one of four sisters raised on a farm who overcame all odds to win the state girls’ basketball championship in 1956. In those days, there was just one class for the entire state in Iowa High School Girls Basketball.
That 1956 Maynard state championship team was coached by Mel Kupferschmid, whom would later live in the Waterloo-Cedar Falls area for many years.
From Maynard, Mel went on to become the first coach in Iowa to win state championships in 6 on 6 and later, in 5 on 5 girls basketball.
Kupferschmid, whom died in 2013, won three state titles as an Iowa girls high school basketball head coach.
His Maynard teams won state championships in 1956 and 1958. (Maynard finished as runner up in 1957) His 1959 team won 58 straight games, but lost in the 1959 title game.
Kupferschmid would later coach at Waterloo Columbus High School, also winning a state championship for the Sailors.
Maynard 8 Miles author, Brian Borland, had a special, personal interest in writing Maynard 8 Miles.
Borland says, “The book tells of Carolyn’s exceptional talent and scoring records, how she led her Maynard High team to overcome huge obstacles and win a state championship, and how she changed the game of six-on-six forever,” Borland said. “It’s also a love story. I always knew my dad played for the Badgers, but my mother was so modest that until I was in the 40s, I never knew she was a superstar and for awhile was the darling of an entire state. When I learned about that, I started researching it, and what a story I uncovered.”
The story also includes the career of Carolyn’s husband, Glenn Borland, who played basketball at Oelwein High, eight miles from Maynard. After graduation, he went on to be a starter and captain of the University of Wisconsin men’s basketball team.
Former Wisconsin Head Coach, Bo Ryan, will co-produce the movie with Brian Borland.
Ryan, who retired in 2015 shortly after leading his Wisconsin team to two consecutive Final Four appearances in the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, has a keen interest in girls’ basketball, even conducting seminars and basketball camps for girls in the 1970s, 1980s and 1990s.
“The story is better than ‘Hoosiers’,” Ryan said. “It’s a tremendous human-interest story featuring great life lessons told through exciting basketball action. I read the book in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. I can’t wait for the movie.”
Borland and Ryan plan to produce the project in 2018, with it likely premiering in Iowa.
More information about the book and the project can be found at Maynard8miles.com.
Maynard 8 Miles by Brian J. Borland is available on Amazon.com