(Nov. 8, 2013) The 1971 T.C. Williams High School football team, made famous by Disney’s “Remember the Titans,” held its first reunion since the release of the 2000 film last weekend, kicking events off at Seacrets on Friday night.
Hugs and warm welcomes were in order at the gathering, where old friends met, players honored their coaches and the public had a chance to meet the team.
“It’s just about getting together and telling stories and remembering the good times,” said former offensive lineman Bob Luckett, who organized the reunion.
Luckett lives in the area and got the idea to hold an Ocean City reunion last spring from his former coach, Bill Yoast, who lives in Bethany Beach.
“Coach Yoast and I were driving home in April from a fundraising event. He said, ‘You know, I’m getting ready to turn 89 in the month of November, and I just don’t know how many more of these I’ll be able to do,’” Luckett said.
On Saturday, the team celebrated Yoast’s birthday with a pig roast at Swann Keys with about 90 in attendance. The celebration continued Sunday at JC’s Northside Pub before the teammates headed home.
Part of the Titans’ meet-and-greet on Friday was to raise money for the Scholarship Fund of Alexandria. For $25, visitors could meet the team, take photos and get autographs.
“Because of the movie, we’ve been able to give back a bit,” Luckett said.
So far, the team has helped 11 T.C. Williams High School graduates pay for college, he said.
The team’s story dates back to 1971, when three Alexandria, Va., high schools merged into one and rivals from George Washington, Hammond and T. C. Williams high schools found themselves playing for the same team.
In addition, Boone, an assistant coach of the former black T.C. Williams High School, was named head coach of the Titans, passing over Yoast, the head coach of the former white Hammond High.
The racial tensions depicted in the movie, however, were exaggerated, with the real difficulty relating more to school ties.
“We all had loyalties to different schools,” Coach Glenn Furman said.
The movie highlights the struggles the team faced bringing rival players together and merging black and white students into one team.
They became a “unifying force of the city,” Furman said.
The Titans went on to become state champions that year, and played what Irie Radio’s Bill Bruce, who attended the reunion, called an “electric game.”
“It was such an incredible movement,” Bruce said. “It’s a mark in history— the tension and the turmoil and the history back then.”
“What these coaches taught us was this: If you can come together over common ground, and put aside black-white, you can be successful,” Luckett said. “When you see us interact, you’ll see real love, and that’s a direct result of our coaches.”