"Remember the Titans" Coach Visits Billings - KULR-8 Television, Billings, MT

"Remember the Titans" Coach Visits Billings

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In 1971, the City of Alexandria, Virginia was under federal orders to desegregate its public schools.

It resulted in the merging of the city's three high schools into one. That school was T.C. Williams.

The story that emerged in Alexandria from desegregation was documented in the film "Remember the Titans."

The head football coach of T.C. Williams was Herman Boone.

Boone is in Billings at the invitation of students at MSU-Billings.

KULR-8's Greg LaMotte went over to MSUB -- and was very excited to meet with the coach. Here's why.

In 1971 I was a sports reporter for the famous Crossed Sabres newspaper. That was the newspaper for Washington-Lee high school in Arlington, Virginia.

Go Generals.

And in 1971 when T.C. Williams in Alexandria, Virginia was about to be integrated they were getting ready to develop what we considered in Arlington as a super team of super heroes, that these guys would have a dynasty forever. So, I went over to T.C. Williams and interviewed Herman Boone, the head coach of T.C. Williams High School, interviewed some administrators there.

Coach, I know you don't recognize me because I look a little older than when I was 17 years old. T.C. Williams has really certainly in northern Virginia really left a legacy there.

I truly believe that the legacy that T.C. Williams has left in northern Virginia is that you don't have to like people but you do have to respect them. And this was brought on by the philosophy of the 1971 Titans that I coached and now everybody in Alexandria seemed to respect each other and they talk to each other and they're made a better city and one of the football players that I coached is the mayor of that city.

The chief of police was the defense back of that team in 1971. So, we're a better city because of that team.

Now, you must have been licking your chops as a coach to get that kind of talent all under one roof, one high school.

Well, yes, every coach in the nation wishes he could get that kind of talent but talent without discipline is no talent at all.

Now, we all remember the Titans but winning went a long way toward making people forget about the color of other people's skin, did it not?

It is true but simply because of a team's progress throughout the season and as they won throughout the season from the different schools parents from the different schools in the different communities in that city found a way to talk to one another and by talking to one another and by talking together with one another they found a common goal of respect for each other and that respect became the emotional glue that binds that city together.

I had to ask Boone about the casting of Denzel Washington to play him in "Remember the Titans."

Boone retorted -- I got to know Denzel's wife very well, and whenever she became upset with him, she made sure to tell him Coach Boone is much better looking than Denzel Washington ever was.

As part of MSUB's "Power of One" week, Coach Boone will be speaking Tuesday night at Petro Theater following a screening of the movie "Remember the Titans."