Remember the Titans Leadership

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An Analysis of the Dynamics of Remember the Titans

An analysis was performed on the movie Remember the Titans, which was released in 2000. The analysis was completed in regard to understanding the dynamics of the story line and characters through the structure and human resource frames. Structural frames of this move included rationality, environment of the times, roles of characters, differentiation of beliefs, integration of races. While analyzing the human resource frames, a focus of the movies’ theme was social organization of not only a society of the times but as a whole organization. An in-depth look into a how a team and those individuals that were part of that team faced and dealt with the division of a society based on racial norms, rules, relationships and how those dividers could be eliminated.


Remember the Titans was a drama movie produced by Walt Disney Pictures that was release in 2000. The movie was 1 hour and 54 minutes in length and was based on a true story and illustrated an abundance of leadership values and principles based the vision of a coach, the mission of a team and core values of human integrity. The movie was set in 1971, when racial tensions were high in Alexandria, VA (Yakin, Remember the Titans). The school board creates an integrated high school by the name of T.C. Williams. This integration is done by combining one white and one black high school. Coach Herman Boone (African-American) played by actor Denzel Washington, is given the head football coaching position above local Coach Bill Yoast (Caucasian), played by actor Will Patton, thus, the conflict heightens. The film follows the triumphs and setbacks of the team’s journey to obtain team unity and in the long run winning a football state championship.

Character Leaders and their Roles

Coach, Herman Boone presents a harsh exterior, had a difficult childhood, and is a seasoned civil rights activist. His background and experiences influence his behavior, and his leadership style. When Boone first met the Titan coaching staff, he knew that he was unwanted. He was pushed, but he did not push back, he remained polite, respectful, and diplomatic. He clarified his agenda was winning football games. Once he becomes the head coach of the Titans, his role switches to an authoritative figure whose primary goal is providing structure and organization that co-mingles in and off the football field.

Coach Bill Yoast was a respected member of his community as well as a winning coach who cared about his players. His background and position in the community gave him a different demeanor and leadership style. Despite having ten head coach offers from other high schools in Northern Virginia he decided to accept the assistant coach position under Boone to support his players. He initially tries to control the situation as an assistant coach but Boone immediately asserts his power and makes it clear who is the head coach and eventually becomes Coach Boone’s conscious, and repeatedly warns him not to push the athletes too far.

Other major characters that portray leaders are Julius Campbell, an African American football player and Gerry Bertier, a white football player. Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell are the unofficial leaders of the white and black teams respectively. They fall into this position because of their athleticism, personal convictions, and need to protect their “brothers”. Gerry Bertier ultimately becomes the team’s leader by learning to set aside his prejudice and focus on the team regardless of color. The relationship that develops between Bertier and Campbell lead the way for most of the team to come together.

Conflicts Arise

First, we can analyze the conflict between the two coaches. The conflict began when Herman Boone was appointed over the more qualified winning white coach, Yoast. According to (Bolman & Deal, 2017), hiring the right people is one of the human resource principles. The next conflict was the leadership styles between Herman Boone and Bill Yoast. The coaching methods of Coach Boone and Coach Yoast are totally different from each other. While Coach Yoast tends to be slightly more reserved, and some may even say more caring than Boone, Coach Boone is very direct, strict, and lets the team know who is in charge at their very first encounter.

Secondly, racism and its resulting conflicts, which began in the south at the beginning of the 1970s is the basis of the movie. This conflict divided the team due to black and white players being forced to play together, which had not occurred in their town or society before.

So the struggle begins, with how the characters are affected by racism, how the leaders both on and off the field are able to overcome racism in order to build relationships amongst one another that promote cohesiveness and ultimately their new roles in an ever changing society.

Conflict Intervention

There were several ways that the arising conflicts were dealt with by the leaders throughout this movie. Team re-design, task process for the coaches, conflict process for the coaches and ultimately changing the individual were analyzed using Wageman & Donnenfelds conflict model (Folger, Poole, & Stutman, 2016). Change invariably generates conflict between innovators (Coach Boone) and traditionalist (Coach Yoast) to determine winners and losers (Boleman & Deal, 2017).
Team re-design usually involves very specific, structural changes to a group, which may include how the goal is to be define, who is in the team, norms, and rewards of the team etc. Coach Boone being the leader of the Titans followed the model given by Wageman & Donnenfelds. Earlier, blacks and whites used to play in different teams but when two schools joined, Herman Boons was made the coach and the first thing he changed was that he made both blacks and whites to play in one team without any racial discrimination.

Task process for the coaches helped the team to perform better via changes in efforts, strategy, and talent. It included team member’s skills, improving the communication skills. When the football camp became the fighting ground he told teammates to either learn to play together or else be thrown off the team. He also went ahead and insisted that they speak to one another, finding out facts about their lives; until they have met everyone or else he will double their practice time to make them one team. He also recognized them into defensive and offensive as per their strength and skills.

The conflict process for the coaches was the direct intervention with the team to improve the quality of conflict the team was having. To break the tension amongst the team and create oneness, Coach Boone takes his players on a three o’clock morning run to Gettysburg, to teach the story of fighting amongst them, and to tell them that “if we don’t come together, we too will be destroyed”. The team comes together during camp, begins to have fun and even sit together and mix the races at the lunch tables. Coach Boone worked to improve the team’s quality of conflict gave them conflict process coaching and was successful.

Lastly, changing the individual uses the individual training with the goal of making the team more tolerant, thoughtful and capable when they disagree with others. Both coaches practice individual training amongst their players using different methods, not always agreeing on those methods, but eventually agreeing that the end goal was the same.


As it is a well-known fact that the consequences of undertaking change in a society, especially that of racism, are great, it becomes even more challenging when for those in leadership roles. Any leader who tries to change something in a substantial way is going to face situations in which major life altering decisions will need to be made. Similarly, in the movie, Remember the Titans, both coaches (Boone and Yoast) makes many conflict resolution decisions between not only the team but also the community that supports the team.

It took respect for others, the ability to communicate, the moral courage to change when necessary, and a commitment not just to win football games but also to help the players mature. These coaches understood that their primary responsibility was to help prepare their players for life as adults and how to deal with the struggles of the human race. Being able to analyze the structural frames of this movie including the rationality of the character’s actions, the environment of the times and how that created the conflict, roles of characters and what their role brought to the conflict and intervention and lastly how the differentiation of beliefs and leadership was able to integrate racism in the form of a football team. ?


Bolman, L. G. & Deal, T. E. (2017). Reframing Organizations: Artistry, Choice, & Leadership (6th ed.). San Francisco, CA: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

Folger, J. P., Poole, M., & Stutman, R. K. (2016). Working through conflict: Strategies for
relationships, groups and organization’s (7th ed.) [7]. Retrieved May 2, 2019, from and donnenfeld conflict intervention model&ots=c_ovZXpg0l&sig=rZawCqyhxpCfzEFRK5M7GluQCzE#v=onepage&q=wageman and donnenfeld conflict intervention model&f=false

Yakin, B. (Director). (2000). Remember the Titans [Motion picture on DVD]. United States:
Jerry Bruckheimer Films.

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Remember the Titans Leadership. (2020, Apr 28). Retrieved April 24, 2024 , from

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