The coaches that inspired the 2000 film "Remember the Titans" will speak at a dinner as part of Southeast Missouri State University's annual Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration next year.
Herman Boone, portrayed by Denzel Washington in the film, and Bill Yoast, portrayed by Will Patton, will speak Jan. 23 about their experience integrating the T.C. Williams High School football team in Alexandria, Va., in 1971.
The coaches will also be available for a question-and-answer program and viewing of the film Jan. 22.
Lincoln Scott, assistant to the president for equity and diversity issues, said his office looked at several booking options before selecting the coaches to speak at the event.
"We chose the coaches because they integrated the football team and, in the process, the whole community," Scott said. "I think SEMO can and does affect the whole community, so I think they will bring a positive message on that process."
Scott said the speakers will help Southeast's faculty and students, as well as community members, understand King's message.
The dinner will be about $15 a plate, but Scott said the real cost is closer to $40 a plate.
"We try to keep the dinner at a price that's affordable for the whole community to attend," Scott said.
"We finalized the date early this year because some companies and community members make their budgets in June and July and wanted to know in advance."
Dr. Loretta Prater, dean of the College of Health and Human Services and celebration co-chair, said she was impressed by the dynamics of the film and that she anticipates the event will be good for the community by bringing together people of all ages and occupations.
"We already have a wonderful town-and-gown relationship here," Prater said. "The dinner and the program will bring together the lay community and the university."
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