Hundreds of students, parents and faculty flocked the Huff Auditorium on the campus of East Central Community College Wednesday to hear the story of Herman Boone, the inspiration for the wildly successful sport movie "Remember the Titans" (2000).
"When we started talking about starting a series of 'An Evening With', I couldn't think of anybody who embodies what we're all about more than Herman Boone," said school President Dr. Billy Stewart. "We talk about our core values of excellence and accountability and respect... he embodies those."
In 1971, Alexandria, Virginia integrated its school system and offered Boone the head coaching job at T.C. Williams High School, where he became the school's first to coach both Black and White players. Boone told Newscenter 11 that if the next generation of leaders wants to succeed, they must focus putting the success of their team over individual gain.
"To become a team is to become a group of people with one vision, one objective and hopefully one heartbeat. That's the way the world will expect them," said Boone. "Not with an 'I' mentality but with that of a person who believes totally in teamwork... and excellence along the way."
The former coach talked about the truths and myths of the movie, saying the Titans did not RUN to the civil war cemetery early in the morning, but were taken there on a bus at 9:00 at night.
He also said another of the movies' more memorable scenes never happened.
"The scene where Sunshine [Ronnie "Sunshine" Bass] kissed Gary [Bertier]," said Boone. "He [Bass] told me last week to tell you he did NOT kiss Gary!"
Coach Boone didn't travel to East Central to discuss legends and celebrities. Rather, his message to those in attendance was very clear.
"This movie is not about football," said Boone. "This movie is about how one can learn to accept the soul of an individual rather than reject that individual because that individual is different."