Remembering Herman Boone
From the sidelines
By Marty Gordon
In 1996, I was the general manager of the Roanoke Rush semi-pro football team that called Victory Stadium home. I was working in a small corner office getting things ready for a Saturday game when I noticed an older gentleman walking the football field—nothing out of the ordinary for a historic stadium with a rich history.
I approached the man, who said he once played at the field. He asked about the Rush, and I never got his name as he walked to an older model Oldsmobile sitting in the parking lot. I regret not knowing who he was.
A worker for the Roanoke City Parks and Recreation Center later told me the man’s name was Herman Boone.
For those that might not know Boone, let me fill you in.
Herman Ike Boone was an American high school football coach who coached the 1971 T. C. Williams High School football team to a 13–0 season, a state championship, and a national championship runner-up. That season was the basis for the 2000 film Remember the Titans, in which Boone was portrayed by Denzel Washington.
In the real Virginia championship, T.C. Williams defeated Andrew Lewis High School from Salem in a game at Victory Stadium.
Boone was hired as an assistant coach at T. C. Williams in 1969. Alexandria, Va.,, consolidated students from three high schools into T. C. Williams in 1971, and Boone was named the head coach of the combined team.
Boone will always be known as one of many people who helped break down the color barrier in sports and in the much larger picture called society.
Boone passed away on December 18th. He was 84.