Football Coach Suspended After Taking Players to Cemetery
Apparently, there can be only one Coach Herman Boone.
A junior varsity high school football coach near Syracuse, N.Y., was suspended for two weeks after making his players lie down in a cemetery after a loss as a motivational tactic.
The Marcellus High School coach, Jim Marsh, admitted Thursday night that he'd borrowed the idea from Boone, the legendary T.C. Williams football coach who was immortalized in the 2000 film "Remember the Titans."
In the film, Boone, played by Denzel Washington, takes his players on an early morning run through Gettysburg to unify his racially divided players.
"Take a lesson from the dead," Washington's character says in the movie, "that if we don't come together right now in this hallowed ground, we, too, will be destroyed."
After Marsh's team lost a game last Saturday, he stopped the team bus at a cemetery and ordered his players to lie down among the graves. He then sent a message to his team about the importance of playing hard.
"I tried to seize an opportunity to inspire the team with a theme from 'Remember the Titans,' " Marsh told the players and their parents Thursday night. "My only thought was to bring them to a realization of what a great thing it is to be able to play football with your friends, and how great it would be to work hard and triumph the following Saturday."
The district superintendent, Craig Tice, told the Syracuse Post-Standard that Marsh offered to resign after some parents expressed outrage over his cemetery visit.
Instead, he accepted the two-game suspension, and will be donating the remainder of his coaching salary this season ($750) to the cemetery for the upkeep of its grounds.
"He took the responsibility," Tice said to the paper, explaining why Marsh was allowed to keep his job. "You probably could have talked to some who would like his resignation. But you would have found just as many who supported him. I can't make everybody happy. I felt this is an inspired solution that will lead to healing."
But Marsh didn't apologize for everything in his statement from Thursday:
"I do not regret the core of passion and values which has allowed me to succeed in the teaching profession, and coaching is nothing but authentic teaching. I do not regret the message of asking players and students to give all that they have for themselves, their peers, and their community. I do not regret telling my students, my players, to be resilient when faced with challenges, to accept the responsibility for your actions, and to handle these things with class and dignity. I can certainly do no less than this when faced with adversity."
Let the record reflect: In "Remember the Titans," Washington's character did not make his players literally lie among the dead. In fact, of anyone, he got closest to the cemetery in the scene, and he wasn't that close.
To usher in your weekend, see for yourself and enjoy these motivational words from Washington as Coach Boone, from "Remember the Titans":
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