Assistant coach from 'Remember the Titans' dies at 94

Ben Krimmel
May 25, 2019 - 2:24 pm
Bill Yoast, an original coachat T.C. Williams High School, has died.

Staff Photo by Megan Raymond/USA TODAY IMAGES

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Bill Yoast, a former high school football coach at T.C. Williams portrayed in the film "Remember the Titans," died Thursday according to his daughter. He was 94.

Yoast coached at Alexandria, Va. high school T.C. Williams from 1971 to 1996 and led the Titans' defense, including the 1971 undefeated state champion squad which inspired the film, per The Washington Post. Actor Will Patton played Yoast and Titans head coach Herman Boone was played by Denzel Washington.

The film depicted the football team overcoming a racial divide after the school district consolidated three high schools — T.C. Williams, Francis Hammond, and George Washington — resulting in a 4:1 white-black ratio at T.C. Williams. Yoast, who coached at Hammond, was considered the favorite for the job at T.C. Williams, but school officials picked Boone to be the Titans head coach.

After Boone — who was the only African American football coach in the area — was given the job, Yoast agreed to join as defensive coordinator and helped convince white players to play for an integrated team. 

Iconic lineman from 'Remember The Titans' dies at 65
Staff Photo by Megan Raymond/USA TODAY IMAGES

“No doubt, the beginning of our relationship was rocky,” Boone told The Post. “I didn’t know Yoast. Yoast didn’t know me. I knew that Hammond had no black athletes and I didn’t know if coach Yoast had anything to do with that. But we got to (training camp) and became roommates and found a way to talk to one another.

“I think that’s the formula for race relations throughout the world. People have to learn to talk to one another. You have to learn to talk to that individual, and when you talk to that individual, you learn to trust that individual, and that’s the greatest gift God to give to man.”

Boone and Yoast were a unique pairing. While Boone was loud and imposing, always imploring his players to give more and more, Yoast was cool and stoic. 

"He was just so soft-spoken, so concerned and so caring,” Collin Arrington, a fullback on the 1971 team, told The Post. “He was so easy to talk to. You’d look at Coach Boone. He was intimidating. Nobody wanted to talk to him. But Coach Yoast, we all loved him, and we’re going to miss him.”

Yoast, an Alabama native who served three years with the Army Air Corps, is survived by his ex-wife Betty, three daughters and nine grandchildren. 

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