Police Chief Remembers the Titans

Posted: October 20, 2000 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Jeremy Lasich

It’s not unusual that George Mason police chief Mike Lynch enjoyed the movie Remember the Titans, as it has received mostly positive reviews since it debuted in theaters three weeks ago. But what makes him different from most viewers is that he played a part of the movie’s history. Lynch was the special teams captain (number 54) for T.C. Williams High School in 1971.

The movie tells the true story of Herman Boone (played by Denzel Washington), an African American football coach who led a racially divided high school team–the T.C. Williams Titans–to victory in 1971 in Alexandria. According to the movie, Boone overcame racial prejudices and bigotry among his team and other coaches, teaching players respect, dedication, and strength.

“The movie portrayed the ‘Hollywood’ version of a real time in Alexandria’s history,” says Lynch. “There are many inaccuracies, but most do not take away from the great story.” The inaccuracies included three schools merging instead of two, the lack of racial fighting, and the team winning all 13 games by a large margin and never having to “pull it out in the last second” as the movie depicted.

Lynch was surprised when he found out a movie was being made about the team. He received a phone call last November from former coach Boone, who arranged for the original team to take a weekend bus trip to Atlanta where they were filming. Lynch got the opportunity to meet the cast, including Washington, and watched the filming of the championship game. In fact, many of the original team members are shown in the movie as the players’ parents cheering in the stands during the game.

Overall, Lynch is happy with the movie and he is proud to have been a part of Alexandria’s history. “Despite some understandable diversions from the ‘real truth,’ the movie tells a wonderful story, and sends a powerful message: we did well just by doing the right thing–respecting our coaches and teachers, respecting each other, working hard, and working together,” Lynch says. “Nothing we did was really outstanding, nothing really heroic, we just did the right thing.”

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