Indianapolis youth football leader Horace Coleman's legacy will live on after duck boat tragedy

By Kailey Harmon | Posted 7/24/2018

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What is normally a pleasant annual vacation for an Indianapolis family is now a sad reminder of a recent event that ended in tragedy.

Thursday in Branson, Missouri, 17 people died on Table Rock Lake after their Tour the Duck boat capsized from severe weather. Nine of the 11 members of the Coleman family aboard lost their lives.

Among the victims was 70-year-old Horace “Butch” Coleman, an active leader in a youth football organization he started in Indianapolis called M.G. Dad’s Club Youth Football League.

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Coleman coached and mentored hundreds of children through his 40-year career with the league.

“He loved kids. He gave his heart to the organization. Forty years of someone volunteering their free time to something, it just shows you the commitment and kind of man he was,” said president of the league, Anthony King.

Coleman served as King’s coach when King was only 9 years old. Years later, Coleman became vice president.

Horace Coleman’s son, Glenn Coleman, 40, was also involved in the organization. He, too, died in the accident.

"Glenn was a little bit more relaxed and laid back than Butch was. The discipline part was there because I'm sure, as a father, he put that in him as well," King said.

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The Coleman family boarded the amphibious vehicle for a 70-minute tour around the Branson area. The boat entered the lake just before a severe weather alert was issued and was then forced to battle 73 mph headwinds before it capsized and sank in 40-feet deep water.

Glenn’s wife, 34-year-old Tia Coleman and his nephew, 13-year-old Donovan Coleman were the only survivors in their family. The other members of the Coleman family who passed were Belinda, 69; Angela, 45; Ervin, 76; Reece, 9; Evan, 7; Maxwell, 2; and Arya, 1.

"I've never had to recover from something like this," Tia Coleman said. "I don't know if there is a recovery from it."

King has also suffered a great loss but has learned valuable lessons from Coleman in the 25 years he knew him.

“I feel like I lost a parent. A million pounds of sadness. It is kind of tough, when you think of it, I lost a friend. A father figure,” King said. “Butch used to say a lot, ‘We use football as a tool. It is not nothing you play with. We use it as a tool to make you a better man.' Also, 'Further your education.’ That stuck with me.”

Here is a video of King describing the impact Coleman has made on his life and many others.


The M.G. Dad’s Club canceled practice Monday evening so players, parents and coaches could attend a vigil held at Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church in honor of the Coleman family victims.

King says it will be difficult to run the league without his vice president, but knows Coleman would want him to do it for the kids.

"This is going to hurt for a while. But I think, in the same breath, if you know Butch, you know you're not allowed to lay around and mourn too long. You’ve got to move forward.”