USI’s Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon featuring
Remember the Titans Coach Herman Boone is sold out, but those who would like to watch Boone’s keynote address can watch a live feed of his remarks beginning at 11:30 a.m. Monday in Forum II in the Wright Administration Building. For more information, contact the Multicultural Center at 812/465-7188.
Inspirational coach is keynote for Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Luncheon
Herman Boone, the inspirational football coach immortalized in the Denzel Washington film Remember the Titans
, is the keynote speaker for USI's annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Memorial Luncheon, which will be held at 11 a.m. Monday, January 21, in Carter Hall in the University Center.
In 1971, racial tensions ran high in Alexandria, Virginia, as three schools were integrated to form T.C. Williams High School. It was from this union that the Titans football team was created. The former rivalries between the schools coupled with the strain between the black and white players resulted in a team that was far from united.
Tensions escalated when Boone was named head coach of the Titans, passing over Bill Yoast, the local favorite and successful head coach of the former 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 they unified their players to form a team whose common vision was to respect each other and win football games. At the same time, through the game of football, Boone and Yoast were able to help their small Virginia community put aside their intolerance and join together in support of their team. The Titans became one of the best teams in Virginia, compiling a 13-0 record, and went on to win the state championship.
Remember the Titans
screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard told the Washington Post, “Herman is Shakespearean. The beauty of Herman and what he did was that it was sort of unconscious. If you’d ask Herman when he took over T.C. Williams, ‘Were you trying to make a point with these kids?’ he would have said, ‘No, I just want to win football games.’ He had to get the players to get along to win football games. And it worked for just that reason - because it wasn’t self-conscious. He did something quite beyond what even he realized.”
A native of Rocky Mount, North Carolina, Boone received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from North Carolina Central University in Durham. He is retired but continues to motivate and inspire audiences with presentations on respect, teamwork, community involvement, and the importance of character.
USI’s MLK Day luncheon also will include performances by the University’s Designed by Grace gospel choir, the Thump Squad drum line, Glenwood Middle School Steppers, and the Children’s Center for Dance Education.
Tickets are $5 for students and $10 for employees and the general public. Students with meal plans may use their meal card to purchase a ticket in the lower level of the University Center at Sodexho Food Services. For more information, contact the Multicultural Center at 812/465-7188.
Wendy Knipe Bredhold
USI News and Information Services