Ferris students had the opportunity to witness a speech from a man that made history.
On Wednesday, September 10th, Ferris State University had the great pleasure of welcoming Boone as a keynote speaker. If the deafening applause from the audience didn’t display how well respected Boone is, nothing else could have.
Coach Herman Boone has been referred to as nothing short of a legend. From his impressive coaching tactics that won him and his team the 1971 Virginia State Championship to his significant efforts in bringing diversity and acceptance to new light, Boone is a highly admirable man.
“I think the whole diversity aspect of his speech was the most influential,” Ferris senior Casey Cooper said. “He knows firsthand about the struggles people went through, and he’s relating it to the business world.”
Another student expressed a deep appreciation for Boone’s successes in history.
“I find it amazing how in 1971, Coach Boone found the ability to bring two separate races together with football and in the end have them all love each other equally as a team,” said Jamison.
Boone stood on the stage for an hour following his event, shaking hands and signing autographs until he had reached everyone that had lined up.
Long after the event had ended, Boone sat down with reporters.
“Back when I was coaching, the thought of the day was how we were going to get through the day,” Boone said.
Moving mountains for the sake of diversity and equality was no walk in the park for Boone.
“It was tough getting through practice when your field was surrounded by angry parents who had angry things to say. It was a job just getting through it,” Boone said.
Though long retired, Boone still had a lively sense of humor. When asked about how he had spent his retirement, Boone smiled wide and said, “Restin’, dressin’, and lookin’ at Jerry Springer.”
The remaining audience in the auditorium burst into laughter.
In the influential movie Remember the Titans, Denzel Washington portrays Coach Boone. When asked about the movie, Boone had nothing but positive things to say, even accrediting much of it as true fact.
“It is such a dynamic movie. It has thrust my name throughout every household in this country, as well as many foreign countries,” Boone said.
Despite being an all-star in the movement for equality and his extensive success as a football coach, Boone remains humble, though confident and passes on his knowledge to younger generations.
“Even today, coaches write me every week for suggestions, plays, and philosophies,” Boone said. “It’s a thrill to be able to pass on these things to young coaches and in doing so, it keep your legacy going.”
Coach Boone had the ability to boost the spirits and mentality of every player on his team, regardless of their backgrounds or home lives.
“It was amazing for me to watch some of these kids from the projects go on to great schools and make something out of their futures; becoming heads of pharmaceutical companies, mayors, police chiefs, etc,” Boone said.
Coach Herman Boone’s speech on Wednesday evening opened up the eyes of everyone in the audience. It was a highly attended event, filling almost the entire Williams Auditorium, and shined a light on the importance of equality, diversity, and acceptance for all.