Herman Boone, a black assistant coach who came to T. C. Williams High in 1969, had less experience than his job competitor.

Bill Yoast, the winning white head coach of the winning Hammond High football team had a great record in Alexandria:

  • He had the support of white football parents.
  • He had what it took to stay on top.
  • He had everything going for him - but he didn't get the job.

Herman Boone did - and that led to even more unrest in the city of Alexandria. After all ... so the arguments went ... the history of high school football with Coach Yoast was already known.  He, therefore, was the "obvious" choice.

Football itself, especially in its unique American form, has an interesting history. How did it change from ancient times when people played "ball" with their "feet?"

  • From Japanese "Kemari" to Russian "Ballspiel" to French "La Soule," the game has evolved.
  • The first American version - "ballown" - began at Princeton University in the 1820s, around the same time as British chaps were playing their own version of football in the streets of London.

Many historians believe American football was initially based on Rugby (the fast-paced game invented at the famous boy's school in Rugby, England) and later shaped by Walter Camp ("the father of American football"). The Rugby boys' school is still standing and rugby balls are still made by hand in the village. But the fast-paced, non-stop nature of today's rugby is much different from today's American football.

No matter the version, football is a team sport:

  • In order to win championships, a team has to play as one.
  • When Herman Boone was picked to coach the Titans of T. C. Williams High, he didn't have a "team." He had a group of resentful young men.
  • Blacks didn't want to work with whites; whites didn't want to work with blacks.
  • Bill Yoast, the former head coach of the team's white players, was now Herman Boone's assistant, while Paul Hines was the offensive line coach.

By all accounts, the school's football program was in shambles. "Built-in" beliefs about other people are tough to shed.

But ... the Titans and their coaches would soon rise above long-held misconceptions.  They began to perform together and became a winning championship team.  Along the way, they would learn a few important lessons about how to live life.

Gerry Bertier, one of the Titans' stars, had his life turned upside down the night of the 1971 football banquet. He'd just won the "Defensive Award in Football," but his football-playing days would end that night.

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5124stories and lessons created

Original Release: Sep 01, 2000

Updated Last Revision: Feb 28, 2015

To cite this story (For MLA citation guidance see easybib or OWL ):

"HERMAN BOONE GETS THE JOB" AwesomeStories.com. Sep 01, 2000. Dec 14, 2017.
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