The Coach who Inspired Fatherless Boys
Joan Jerkovich - August 29, 2014 9:39 am
Bill Courtney’s father left him and his mother when he was just four years old. Years later, on the night of his winning football game, he remembers watching his teammates walk off the field, side by side, with their fathers helping carry their pads and helmets, discussing the game as they walked together. Young Bill walked off the field alone.
The experience of growing up without a father inspired Bill Courtney to volunteer his time coaching the high school football team, the Manassas Tigers of North Memphis. Within 6 years, he built the impoverished team from just 15-16 kids with no chance of winning; to a team who’s players weren’t just winning on the field, but winning in life as well.
Just as Coach Courtney practiced plays over and over again, he also replayed the message to his team of the importance of building “character”. In the film he said that, “football doesn’t build character, it reveals it”. His philosophy was portrayed as one in which personal character and integrity come first, and winning comes second. He was repeated saying in the film that the true test of character is not in winning, but in how you conduct yourself as a man when you lose.
“Undefeated” is a film about this truly inspirational coach, Bill Courtney, and the young, mostly fatherless, young men he coached. This is a film that I highly recommend to all youth football Coaches, young men, fathers and sons, and mothers raising sons alone. It won the 2012 Academy Award for Feature Documentary. Kudos to filmmakers Daniel Lindsay and T.J. Martin whose previous film documentary was on Beer Pong.
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