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Herman Boone, Coach

Herman Boone is a teacher, retired football coach, and a true symbol of social transformation. Herman Boone is a motivator of young people of all races and is a genuine inspiration to many people of varied circumstances and diverse backgrounds.

A native of Rocky Mount North Carolina, he is one of twelve children. He was born October 28,1935, to the late Frank and Daisy Boone.  After attending the Abraham Lincoln Elementary School, he went on to graduate from the Booker T. Washington High School in 1954.

 Herman, known in North Carolina as “Ike”, was an outstanding athlete.  His pursuit of excellence took him to North Carolina College in Durham, NC. Where, in 1958, he received his B.A. and M.S. Degrees.

As a young person, Herman was highly recruited and he decided to become a teacher and coach, so that he might motivate other youngsters, as he had been early in his childhood.

In 1958 Herman accepted his first teaching and coaching position at the I.H. Foster High School in Blackstone, Virginia, where he coached football, basketball and baseball.  His teams were outstanding with very impressive statistics with twenty-six wins, six losses and three district championships.

While at Blackstone, Virginia, Herman met his wife Carol, a quiet unassuming person, who touched his heart as no other person had.  Herman and Carol have been married now for thirty-eight years and they are the proud parents of three wonderful daughters, Sharon, Donna and Monica, and also the gratifying grandparents of Mackenzie and Lauren.

In 1961, Herman fulfilled his strong desire to return to his home state of North Carolina to continue his coaching and teaching career. He accepted a coaching position at the E.J. Hayes High School in Williamson, NC. Inspired and motivated to win, his football teams in North Carolina amassed an astonishing record of 99 wins and 8 losses in a nine-year period. His 1966 football team was recognized by Scholastic Coach’s Magazine as “The Number One Football Team in America”. Herman has been selected coach of the year six times and is the author of many articles for several national magazines.  

In 1969, the Williamston, NC school board informed Herman that the town of Williamson “was not ready for a black head coach”, so with mixed emotions, Herman accepted an assistant football coaching position at T.C. Williams High School in Alexandria, Virginia.  

In 1971, the city of Alexandria decided to totally integrate its school system and appointed Herman as its first consolidated head football coach over a legendary white coach with several years seniority and a steadfast citywide following.  He was honored to have been selected, but extremely apprehensive about the challenges that lay ahead.

Remarkably, Herman was able to pull together and solidify a diverse coaching staff and an unfocused group young boys into the most powerful football team in the state of Virginia.  This team was ranked second in the nation by national polls.

The willingness of these young men to talk to each other, along with their determination to win, brought together a city torn apart by prejudice and hatred.  In December 1971, president Richard M. Nixon was quoted as saying, “ the team saved the city of Alexandria”.

Although history might not remember the names of such people as Herman Boone and Bill Yoast, it is because of us that Virginia and now the world will always remember the Titans of Alexandria.

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