‘Remember the Titans’ coach addressed students about acceptance during MLK commemoration.

Legendary coach Herman Boone spoke to UVU students during the Martin Luther King, Jr. commemoration week about accepting differences in others. Randyl Nielson/UVU Review

It wasn’t his public speaking skills, nor the rapport he built with the audience that made the audience hang on Coach Herman Boone’s every word. Instead, it was the message about diversity and embracing each other’s differences that held the their attention fast.

Boone spoke to students, faculty and guests on Jan. 18 as the keynote speaker of the annual Martin Luther king Jr. commemoration week on campus.

“He’s an amazing, humble man who’s made a difference in so many people’s lives through the film, and his beliefs and values,” said Amity Smyth, a freshman at UVU.

In 2000, Denzel Washington played Boone in the film Remember the Titans, which highlights Boone’s days as the T.C. Williams High School football coach.  His football players shared a goal of winning, and through that goal, they were able to unite as a team and be an example to not only a community, but the nation.

“ ‘The Remember the Titans’ movie is not about football,” Boone said. “This movie is about young people who accepted each other’s soul, and accepted and celebrated each other’s differences.”

Focusing his address on being more culturally accepting, Boone kept up with the theme of the week by using Martin Luther King Jr. to reiterate his message of acceptance.

“Even at the displeasure of many governments of other countries, they continue to march on in his name because they know that he stood for truth,” Boone said. “They know that he stood for justice and not for one race of people, but for all people of the world.”

“The school does a really good job of showing that they really care about culture,” said Breiyon Reynolds, a sophomore. “That says a lot about UVU, that they care about everyone that’s different and accept everyone’s differences to build a good school.”

Through Martin Luther King’s message and anecdotes from his days as a high school coach at a time of racial turmoil, Boone left the audience with one essential message of accepting differences.

“If we are to grow as individuals, we must learn to invite people into our sphere of influence,” Boone said. “You simply have to come out of your comfort zone if you want to move forward in this challenging life because you can’t grow unless you’re challenged.”