As of March 25, 2015, this event has been canceled.
Herman Boone, a former high school football coach who was portrayed by Denzel Washington in the film "Remember the Titans" will speak at Central Michigan University as part of the Marge Bulger Sport History Lecture Series at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 25, in Warriner Hall's Plachta Auditorium. His talk, "Lessons in Diversity," is free and open to the public.
In 1971, racial tensions ran high in Alexandria, Virginia, as three schools were integrated to form T.C. Williams High School. They escalated further when Boone, an African-American assistant football coach, was appointed head football coach over Bill Yoast, the local favorite and successful head coach of the former, predominantly white Hammond High School.
Yoast's supporters were angered by Boone's appointment, which was interpreted as a gesture of goodwill to the black community. Boone offered Yoast an assistant coordinator coaching position as a show of respect. Yoast initially declined the offer, but later changed his mind and accepted a position as the team's defensive coordinator.
Boone will share the lessons in diversity he learned as head coach of the T.C. Williams Titans, where during his first season he successfully united a diverse coaching staff and an unfocused group of young men into a racially harmonized unit and one of the most powerful high school football teams in Virginia. The Titans compiled a 13-0 record, were ranked second in the U.S. and won the Virginia State Championship in 1971.
Boone and Yoast were able to put aside their prejudices and in doing so, pulled their players together to form a team whose common vision was to respect each other and win football games. Through the game of football, they were able to help their Virginia community put aside their intolerance and join together to support youth.
Boone coached the Titans until he retired in 1976. He still lives in Alexandria, but spends his time traveling and giving inspiring, motivational speeches about respect, teamwork, community involvement and the importance of character.
The Marge Bulger Sport History Lecture Series was established in 1993 in memory of Marge Bulger, professor emeritus of CMU's physical education and sport department. Marge was a faculty member for 35 years, from 1957 to 1992. She also coached volleyball from 1966 to 1970 and served as department chairperson from 1989 to 1992. Her husband, William Bulger, professor emeritus of CMU's history department, founded the endowed lecture series.