The 1971 T.C. Williams High School football team that was immortalized in “Remember the Titans” lost another key figure on Thursday.
Former defensive coordinator Bill Yoast died at the age of 94 at a Springfield, Va. assisted living facility, his daughter told The Washington Post. The cause of death was not disclosed.
Yoast, who was played by Will Patton in 2000’s “Remember the Titans,” was the head coach of one of the three schools consolidated to form the integrated T.C. Williams in 1971. As a head coach of a regional champion, Yoast was thought to be a frontrunner for the T.C. Williams job.
Instead, Herman Boone was given the job. Despite having other head coaching job offers in the area, Yoast stuck with the Titans and ended up coaching the defense.
The result was one of the most terrifying units in the country. Yoast’s defense, famously led by captains Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell, posted nine shutouts in 13 games that season, allowing only 113 yards per game and 45 points all season, according to the website of the program’s ’71 Original Titans Scholarship Fund.
A remembrance of how Yoasts coaching style, from the Post:
“He was just so soft-spoken, so concerned and so caring,” Collin Arrington, a fullback on the 1971 team, said in a phone interview. “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 stayed on as a coach at T.C. Williams until 1996, and also coached track and field and golf.
The Titans’ state championship run is widely credited for rising above racial tensions in the area, and Yoast himself reportedly had a history of fighting racism well before he moved to Virginia. Per the Post, Yoast helped his family make ends meet in Alabama while picking cotton alongside sharecroppers, and left an earlier coaching job in Georgie after being “chastised” for allowing a baseball team with black players to use the showers at his high school.
Yoast is the second major character of “Remember the Titans” to die this year, as Campbell also succumbed to multiple organ failures in January.
Per the Post, Yoast is survived by his ex-wife Betty, daughters Dee Dee Fox, Angie Garrison and Susan Gail Greeson, nine grandchildren and even more great grandchildren. His funeral is scheduled for June 1 in Springfield.
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