Herman Ike Boone is a former American high school football coach, best known as the head coach of the 1971 T. C. Williams High School football team. He forayed into coaching with ‘Luther H. Foster High School,’ in Blackstone, Virginia, where he also a faculty member. He coached football, baseball, and basketball teams at the school and won three district championships. He later joined the ‘E.J. Hayes High School,’ in Williamston, North Carolina, where his football teams recorded 99 wins and 8 losses over a period of nine years. The ‘Scholastic Coach's Magazine’ recognised his 1966 football team as "The Number One Football Team in America." Herman was, however, fired from the school because of racial bias. All high school students of the city of Alexandria, Virginia, were consolidated into ‘T. C. Williams High School’ in 1971 and the same year Herman was inducted as the head coach of the school’s football program. He had a successful time with the high school football team, as lead them to a 13–0 season, state championship, and national championship runner-up. The blockbuster hit biographical sports film ‘Remember the Titans’ was based on him; Denzel Washington portrayed Herman in the film. ‘The Herman Boone Trophy’ is name after him.
Childhood & Early Life
Herman Ike Boone was born on October 28, 1935, in Rocky Mount, North Carolina. He studied at the ‘Abraham Lincoln Elementary School’ and thereafter at the ‘Booker T. Washington High School’ (now closed) in Rocky Mount.
He obtained a B.A. degree and then his M.S. degree from the North Carolina Central University in Durham, North Carolina. He was part of the ‘Tau Psi’ chapter of the ‘Omega Psi Phi’ fraternity at the university.
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Herman landed up his first teaching and coaching job in 1958 at the ‘Luther H. Foster High School’ in Blackstone, Virginia. At the school, he coached the football, baseball, and basketball teams. Under his guidance, the teams recorded 26 wins and 3 district championships, with just 6 losses.
He came back to North Carolina in 1961 to pursue a better career in teaching and coaching. He joined the ‘E.J. Hayes High School,’ Williamston, as a coach. He had a nine-year stint with the school and during this period, the school football team put up an impressive show, recording 99 wins and only 8 losses. ‘The Scholastic Coach's Magazine’ tagged his 1966 football team as "The Number One Football Team in America." Herman was, however, fired from his post in 1969, as the board of the school felt that Williamston town "was not ready for a black head coach."
Meanwhile, the schools of Alexandria, Virginia, were integrated in 1965 and in 1971 the city consolidated all high school students into ‘T. C. Williams High School.’ Herman was appointed the head coach of the football program of ‘T. C. Williams High School’ in 1971 amidst tensions that that Herman, a black coach, was given the job over the popular white coach Bill Yoast. Herman, however, was not deterred by such racial disturbances and led the 1971 football team of the high school to the Virginia State Championship and the team became the national championship runner-up. The team had a 13–0 season.
The team members of the ‘T. C. Williams High School’ football program got to know each other in the Gettysburg camp. As the integrated football team started drawing national attention, the then President of the United States, Richard Nixon, sent an aide, Dr. Brown, to see the team. President Nixon, while mentioning about the Titans, said in December 1971, that the team saved the Alexandria city.
Herman was dismissed from his post of coach of the ‘T. C. Williams High School’ in 1979, following allegations of player abuse and misbehaviour with coaching staff.
Following his retirement from coaching, Herman attends functions as a public speaker and shares his experience as a high school football coach at ‘T. C. Williams High School.’
In 2016, he received the ‘Living Legends of Alexandria’ award, which is bestowed upon notable citizens of the city.
The biographical sports film ‘Remember the Titans,’ considered by many as one of the best football films, is based on the true story of Herman and his efforts in integrating ‘T. C. Williams High School’ football team in 1971. Noted American actor, director, and producer Denzel Washington portrayed Herman in the film, which emerged as a blockbuster hit.
’The Herman Boone Trophy,’ named after the legendary high school football coach, is awarded annually to the winning team of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl. It is a high school football all-star game that is held every year at the Alamodome stadium located in San Antonio, Texas.
Family & Personal Life
Herman is married to Carol Boone with whom he has three daughters - Sharron, Monica, and Donna. He also has three grandchildren - Lauren, Myles, and Mackenzie. He presently resides with his wife in Alexandria, Virginia.
Former American football player and coach Willie Jeffries is a friend of Herman. Their friendship dates back to the time they both served as assistant coaches in North Carolina. Herman also wrote a recommendation letter for inclusion of Willie’s name into the ‘College Football Hall of Fame.’