Springfield, Va. — A former high school coach portrayed in the film Remember the Titans has passed away.
Bill Yoast’s daughter, Dee Dee Fox confirmed the news to the Washington Post Saturday. She said Yoast died at 94 years old Thursday at an assisted living facility in Virginia.
Fox did not provide the news outlet with a cause of death.
Yoast coached football, leading the Titans’ defense, at T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, Virginia from 1971 to 1996.
The team’s 1971 undefeated state championship season inspired the 2000 film Remember the Titans, which also addressed issues of racism. In the film, Yoast is portrayed as an “opponent of racism and a savvy on-field tactician,” according to the Post.
During his time at T.C. Williams worked on head coach Herman Boone’s staff. Boone was the only African American coach in the area at the time.
Yoast joined Boone’s staff as the defensive coordinator and principal lieutenant. He also convinced players from his former team at Francis Hammond High School, which was an entirely white team, to join what would be an integrated team.
“No doubt, the beginning of our relationship was rocky,” Boone, who coached the Titans from 1971 to 1979, told the Post in a phone interview. “I didn’t know Yoast. Yoast didn’t know me. I knew that Hammond had no black athletes and I didn’t know if coach Yoast had anything to do with that. But we got to [training camp] and became roommates and found a way to talk to one another. I think that’s the formula for race relations throughout the world. People have to learn to talk to one another. You have to learn to talk to that individual, and when you talk to that individual, you learn to trust that individual, and that’s the greatest gift God gave to man.”
Will Patton played Yoast and Denzel Washington played Boone in the film.
In addition to football, Yoast also coached track, field and golf.
A public visitation will be held May 31 at Demaine Funeral Home in Springfield, Virginia from 6 to 8 p.m. His funeral is set for June 1 at 2 p.m. at St. John’s United Methodist Church. The family will hold a private ceremony at a later date.