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Former 'Remember the Titans' Coach to Speak at Juniata

(Posted September 4, 2012)

Bill Yoast, former football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va., the setting for the film "Remember the Titans."

HUNTINGDON, Pa. -- All those who have seen the Hollywood sports movie "Remember the Titans" -- and they are legion -- recall the charismatic head coach played by Denzel Washington. But there was another head coach depicted in that film, Bill Yoast (played by Will Patton) and Juniata College will welcome the acclaimed Yoast, who will talk on "Lessons from 'Remember the Titans,'" at 7 p.m., Monday, Sept. 10, in Rosenberger Auditorium on the Juniata campus.

Prior to the lecture, there will be a film showing of the classic "Remember the Titans" at 8 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 9, on the campus quad in front of the Halbritter Center for the Performing Arts. Both events are free and open to the public.

The presentations are sponsored by Juniata's athletic department, the Office of Student Activities, the Dean of Students Office and partially funded by an NCAA Student-Athlete Affairs grant.

As recalled from the film, Bill Yoast was the head football coach at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Va. In 1971, T.C. Williams High School was made the sole, fully integrated high school in the area after two other high schools were eliminated in a school district reorganization. The other high schools were rivals in sports, and much tension developed from the resulting racial integration and from combining rival schools into one entity. As a result of this organizational shakeup, Yoast was asked to step down as head football coach in favor of Herman Boone, an African-American coach who had joined the T.C Williams staff as an assistant coach in 1969.

During the 1971 football season, Yoast agreed to work as an assistant coach and the team won the Virginia state title and was ranked second in the nation in some national polls.

In "Lessons from 'Remember the Titans,'" Yoast will talk about how the T.C. Williams coaches and players worked together as a team worked together to overcome mistrust and animosity.

In "Lessons from 'Remember the Titans,'" Yoast will talk about how the T.C. Williams coaches and players worked together as a team worked together to overcome mistrust and animosity. Yoast's personal experience with leadership, team-building, change and diversity translate well into lessons that can apply beyond sports.

Yoast retired as a coach in 1990, but he had a long, successful career in athletics. He started his coaching career in Sparta, Ga. and moved on to Roswell, Ga. before accepting a job as head football coach at T.C. Williams, where he coached more than three decades. Yoast was named Coach of the Year in both Georgia and Virginia during his long career.

After serving in the U.S. Air Force for three years, Yoast earned a bachelor's degree from Mercer University in Macon, Ga. and went on to earn a master's degree in education from Peabody College, in Nashville, Tenn.

After the release of the hit film in 2000, Yoast published a book, "Remember This Titan" in 2005. The book received positive reviews and resulted in Yoast's current career as a motivational speaker.

Contact John Wall at wallj@juniata.edu or (814) 641-3132 for more information.