Herman Boone, the Virginia high school football coach portrayed by Denzel Washington in the movie "Remember the Titans," will speak at Hilbert College at 8 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 19, in William E. Swan Auditorium. Boone, who is now retired, motivates and inspires with his presentations on respect, teamwork, community involvement and the importance of character.
The event is free and open to the public.
In addition to Boone's presentation, Hilbert's athletics department will host a "Recruiting 101 Seminar" for high school athletes who plan to continue their athletic career in college. The recruiting seminar will begin at 6:30 p.m. in Swan Auditorium, followed by individual meetings with specific coaches and culminating with Boone's presentation at 8 p.m.
In 1971, racial tensions ran high in Alexandria, Virginia, as three schools were integrated to form T.C. Williams High School. In a story captured by the Disney film "Remember the Titans," Boone faced the challenge of a lifetime in uniting black and white players from previously rival schools in the newly created Titan football team.
Tensions only escalated when Boone, assistant coach of the former T.C. Williams High School, was named head coach of the Titans, passing over Bill Yoast, the local favorite and successful head coach of the former (and white) Hammond High. Yoast's supporters were angered by Boone's appointment, which was seen as a gesture of goodwill to the black community.
Remarkably, the two coaches were able to put aside their prejudices and, in doing so, united their players to form a team with a vision for players to respect themselves and others while winning football games. At the same time, through the game of football, Boone and Yoast were able to help their small Virginia community put aside its intolerance and join together to support its children. The Titans became one of the best teams in Virginia, compiling a 13-0 record and going on to win the state championship.