Frequently Asked Questions
We have received lots of e-mail about the movie “Remember the Titans”. Many people have asked questions about the movie, certain players or certain scenes. The following questions are many of the most frequently asked. Lots of the questions are simple to answer some are more complicated.
1.Did Sunshine really kiss Gerry Bertier in the locker room?
2.Is Sunshine gay?
3.Did the team really run at 3AM to the graveyard at Gettysburg?
No, we did attend camp at Gettysburg College in Gettysburg, PA. We did not run through the national park in the middle of the night, this is frowned on by the park rangers. We did have a tour of the battlefields on the Sunday we were at camp.
4.Did the team really go to camp at Gettysburg?
Yes, we went to camp at Gettysburg College for one week.
5.Did Coach Boone really give the “We are the Titans” speech?
Coach Boone is an excellent motivational speaker and gave a lot of speeches; at one time or another he most likely said something similar to the speech in the movie. He also never talked about winning, but by playing our best and leaving everything on the field, we could leave the field with our heads held high no matter what the score. His favorite saying was “We are going to do this for us!” But, with his North Carolina accent it always sounded like he said “We are going to do this for Russ!” As soon as he would turn away or go into the Coach’s room we would all look around and say “Who the heck is Russ?”
6.What are some of the major ‘incorrect’ things about the movie versus what really happened?
The movie never pretends to be a true story, it is based on a true story. This statement can lead to a large range of variance on how certain events are depicted. Of course there are many differences between what really happened and the story presented in the movie. Many of the questions in this section cover a lot of the major differences. None of the players can say what happened between the coaches and adults shown in the movie, but we do know what happened between and to us. Just remember the person who wrote the story, did not live in Alexandria, did not attend TC, GW or Hammond, most likely never played football, only did a very cursory job of research in regards to the players, and really already had a story in mind, he just needed a group to plug into it.
7.Did we really run six plays?
The foundation of the offense consisted of six plays; they were all variations of the triple option veer. In addition to the basic running plays, which could be run from several different formations, we had a set of passing plays and a few other plays, traps, sweeps, screens, etc. The basic six plays each had three options and could be run in either direction, so in reality we had a lot of plays.
8.Did Coach Yoast make the High School Hall of Fame?
Coach Yoast is a ‘hall of fame’ coach, teacher and leader, if they ever do really make a High School Coaches Hall of Fame, he should be one of the first inductees.
9.Did the restaurant incident happen?
This incident may not have actually happened, but there were places of business with the attitude portrayed by the owner in that scene in certain parts of the country at that time.
10.Did Gerry Bertier and Ray approach Coach Boone about playing positions?
Gerry and Coach Boone had a discussion about player positions during the summer before practice started.
11.What happened to and where are Coach Tyrell and Ray? What happened to Gerry’s friend? How did he feel about being kicked off the team? How does he feel about the movie?
Coach Tyrell and Ray are not real characters. Some people say they are loosely based on real people, if they are, they are very, very loosely based on real people and have certain aspects of their character overly dramatized.
12.Did Emma really have a hard time adjusting?
As stated above, Emma is, at best, a composite of bad traits of a lot of people. The character in the movie does not reflect anyone associated with the team.
13.Do the guys still see each other and hang around?
Yes, a lot of guys still live in the Northern Virginia area; many are close friends and have been getting together for a long time. The movie has reestablished a lot of contacts and we do get together in various size groups on a pretty regular basis.
14.Are there pictures that show the real players?
See the picture area of the web-site. We add to it all the time.
15.Are there any pictures of the original Titan with the actor who played them?
Several of the guys who went to Atlanta to watch some of the movie production have pictures with the actors who played them. We will try to scan and post them on the web site soon.
16.Is there a book about the players or the season?
A book was released in October 2003 written by the daughter of Titan assistant coach Paul "Doc" Hines. The book is called A Titan of a Man - A Coach of the Famous '71 Who Inspired Generations of Young People by Paula Hines Lonergan. Details about the book can be seen at http://www.atitanofaman.com
17.What are different players doing now?
If you look in the ‘Locker Room’ are of this web site, those players whose names are underlined have bios attached to them, just click on the name. New bios are being added all the time.
18.Did everyone really get along on the team or was there a lot of conflict between each other and even the coaches because it was a different era?
Of course not everyone on a team of 80 players and coaches is going to get along and be best friends, we did respect each other and many of us are good friends. We never had any fights off the field as depicted in the movie. There were of course several ‘pushing matches’ on the field by a couple guys on the very rare occasion, but it is hard to play a violent game without the occasional loss of temper. The parties involved normally worked their differences out while they ran their mile together.
19.What happened after the 1971 season?
See the T.C. Williams home page for a history of the school.
20.Was Coach Yoast’s daughter really that involved with the team? Is it true that Cheryl Yoast has passed on? And how?
Coach Yoast daughter was a real football fan, but she was not as directly involved as is depicted in the movie. She watched from the stands and was always one of the first down on the field following the games. Cheryl passed away in 1996 from a heart condition that had gone undetected for many years.
21.What was the real relationship between Gerry and Julius? What was it’s impact on the team?
Gerry and Julius became teammates and friends like many other players on the team. Their friendship as teammates helped the team to gel, but it was not the only new friendship nor was it the catalyst that held the team together.
22.Who was really on the team?
The roster of the team is in the ‘Locker Room’ area of the web site.
23.Did Gerry really dismiss Ray for missing the block?
No, as stated above, there was no Ray on the team. If there had been he would have been dealt with very early in the training camp. First the rest of the players are not going to tolerate a guy who is not putting out 110% all the time, like they were. They would not let one guy jeopardize their season because of some guy who wanted to disrupt the team. The coaches would have quickly recognized what he was doing and even if he were not cut, he certainly would not be playing in any games.
24.Why were the school’s names and coaches changed for the championship game?
There are several stories about the reason the championship game was changed; the real reason is most likely lies somewhere in between all the stories. One story is that since the real championship game was not a very close game, a close game from earlier in the season was chosen for the movie. Another story is that the school and city where the game was played would not give permission for their names to be used unless some filming was done at that location and the production company chose not to do that.
25.Did Emma shake Julius’ hand?
Those scenes were dramatized for the movie.
26.How was Julius as a person? How were his football accomplishments compared to Gerry’s?
Julius is a very nice, but intensely quiet person. He seems shy in person until he gets to know you. Once he put a helmet on he changed into an aggressive intense competitor who played intense, clean hard football. He was a High School All American his senior season (1972).
27.Why did Coach Boone only coach for 5 more years?
He decided to retire and spend more time with his family.
28.What did Julius do after High School?
Julius works for the City of Alexandria.
29.Did Gerry really say, “He is my brother, don’t you see the family resemblance?” to the nurse when Julius came to visit?
Gerry was in an intensive care unit right after his accident. The nurses stopped many of the players at the desk on the ward and told them only immediate family could see him. We all said we were immediate family and went on by.
30.What colleges recruited Gerry?
Gerry had several offers from a variety of schools, Minnesota, Ohio State, Maryland, and Michigan to name a few.
31.Did the team really do that dance and come onto the field like they did in the movie?
No, the team did not dance onto the field or during warm-ups. One of the coaches recently
answered this question, “These boys were good football players, they could really play some football, but if we had to teach them a dance like that, they would still be at camp!”
When we came out on the field for warm-ups we came out in three groups, first the quarterbacks, receivers, kickers and a couple centers, then a few minutes later the rest of the backs and linebackers and finally the linemen would come out. When we were all on the field we would line up and do our warm-up exercises, during which we would sometimes sing. At the end of the warm-ups we would get in a very small tight group and do a set of quick action drills before we left the field. When we came on the field for the introductions and game we lined up in a column of twos and we would start clapping and pounding on our thigh pads in unison as we came out to run through the goals post.
32.What events either comedic or traumatic would you have included in the movie about your accomplishments?
There are as many stories and comments as there are guys on the team, but it is probably true we would all agree a scene that should be in the movie was one that happened at practice one day when some not too bright person tried to steal our star running back and the team’s most valuable player, Frankie Glascow’s car from the parking lot next to the field. He was dragged out the window of the car and treated very poorly by about 30 guys, until a coach could get into the
group and ‘rescue’ the young juvenile offender.
33.Why is the character from the movie, Alan Bosley not listed on the team roster?
Alan Bosley, like Coach Tyrell and Ray are not specific players, but players made to dramatize certain events, attitudes or characteristics of the team. In Alan’s case he is made to show the selflessness of the players, we all understood our roles on the team and supported the team no matter what it took. His father portrays some of the worst of many of the grown-up tendencies and attitudes prevalent in high school and youth sports. Like one of the adults said later, “If the
adults would just stay out of it, the kids will work it out for themselves.”
34.Did Julius and Gerry really become best friends? Did they love each other like brothers?
Gerry and Julius were really good friends. Most of the guys on the team are all really good friends, or as stated above in another answer, if we are not close friends, we respect each other and are teammates. Sometimes we introduce ourselves as brothers. Often this causes confusion.
35.Was it true that some of Gerry’s closest friends abandoned him when he decided to commit himself to the team?
Do not know the answer to this exactly. We all committed ourselves to the team and it may have strained some friendships and enhanced others, Gerry’s experience was no different from any of his teammates.
36.Did Ron really do Tai Che outside the school?
No, we did not even know what Tai Che was. It was around this period of time that the US and China were opening relations with the ping-pong diplomacy strategy of President Nixon.
37.Did the referees really try to influence the outcome of a game but calling penalties?
No, this is also dramatized for the movie. Like all football teams and players there were instances when we felt the referees were picking on our team, but that was never the case.
38.Was Jerry ‘Rev’ Harris a religious person?
I am sure privately he practiced his religion in his own way. He did not preach or quote the bible to his teammates or friends. He is an active minister in his church today, but to his teammates he is ‘Jerry’.
39.Did Coach Boone call Gerry and Ray, Jerry Lewis and Dean Martin in front of the whole team?
No, Coach Boone was as he says ‘a mean cuss’, but he was also a leader and he never would treat his players like that in front of the whole team and the parents.
40.Why is Richard Grayson #76 face hazed over in all the team pictures?
Have you ever really seen Richard in person? That would explain why he is hazed out. No, most of the pictures came from one original and in that particular picture he is a little hazy, maybe he moved or the original print is damaged a little around him. It is not intentional.
41.Did Gerry really run a stop sign when he had his accident?
Gerry’s accident did not happen exactly as it was depicted in the movie. First, it happened after the season was over. He was on his way home from the fall sports award banquet when the accident happened. The street had a creek with pretty steep sides running down the middle. To make it look more natural, instead of metal guardrails, there were telephone pool like rails on wooden stands about two and a half feet high along the creek area. Somehow, his car hit the guardrail and was overturned into the creek. He was in the car for sometime before someone saw his car down in the creek. Exactly how the accident happened was never truly solved, he felt he was hit by another car from behind, but the police could never find another car.
42.Did you all encounter any hate or prejudice because you were willing to play on an integrated team?
We had several incidents where we had rocks thrown at players or buses, but it was not because we were an integrated team playing against segregated teams. The official school policy in the Northern Virginia area did not allow segregation. All the teams we played were integrated and there were not any ‘whites’ or ‘black’ only teams as depicted in the movie.
43.Did Coach Boone and Jerry Harris help Lewie Lastik academically?
Coach Boone monitored all of the player’s grade and attendance regularly. If someone was not doing well in class their grades were forwarded to Coach Boone weekly. If someone needed help Coach Boone made sure they knew where to get the help and that they were taking advantage of every opportunity. We were expected to be leaders in the class room as well as on the field, all the teachers knew what was expected of the football team and were not afraid to let the Coach know if anyone was falling short of the established standards.
44.Did Ron Bass upend the nose tackle in the Groveton game?
Are you kidding, Ron was a quarterback! No, Ron was a pretty tough runner and for the regular season (first nine games) had 301 yards on 88 carries (3.4 yards/carry) the longest for 57 yards and he scored 5 touchdowns.
45.Did Coach Boone receive threats of violence and have bricks thrown through his window?
Coach Boone did receive threats, he did not share all of them with his players. Things were thrown into his yard and through his window, once a toilet was thrown through his window.
46.Would Coach Boone have lost his job had he lost a game?
Many people were watching Coach Boone and just waiting for a opportunity to start the process of getting him fired as the Head Coach.
47.Were there protests outside the school on the first day?
There were no protests outside TC the first day of school. There were problems at George
Washington Junior High School with some pushing and rock throwing, but several of the football players went to the school and got the kids in class. After about the first three days people realized they could not cause the schools to go back to the way they were and the normal routine of the school year took over.
48.Did Coach Boone really go around saying “John Brown”?
Many people substitute a nonsensical word or saying into their speech when they are going to, or wish to say, something which would be considered ‘off color’ or appropriate. “John Brown” was the adjective Coach Boone used to indicate displeasure or frustration.
49.Who was ranked the number one high school in the nation that year and how was this ranking decided?
TC was tied for second with Washington High School from Tulsa, Oklahoma. The number one team was from Valdosta, Georgia. Here is a link to an article about how the rankings were done by the National Sports News Service.