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Yoast grew up in Florence, Alabama. After a three-year tour in the United States Air Force, he attended Georgia Military College and later Mercer University, where he joined Sigma Nu fraternity and earned a Bachelor of Arts in Physical Education. He later earned a Masters degree from Peabody College.
A high school and college athlete, Yoast turned to coaching as a career. He worked in Sparta, Georgia and Roswell, Georgia before moving to Alexandria, Virginia, where he spent several decades and earned his greatest fame. Yoast coached Hammond to the Northern Virginia regional championship in 1969.
Yoast's 1971 season at T. C. Williams High School served as the inspiration for Remember the Titans. Yoast, who is white, worked as an assistant to head coach Herman Boone, who is black, at the newly integrated school. The team enjoyed a dominant season, winning the state title and taking a second-place national ranking.
Having retired in 1990, Yoast has published a book discussing his experiences in coaching, Remember This Titan.
With his wife, Betty, he sired four daughters: Bonnie (1951–2003), Angela (born 1956), Sheryl (1962–1996), and Deidre (born 1968). When he and Betty divorced, all of his daughters lived with their mother. He has seven grandchildren and at least six great-grandchildren.
Sheryl - a football fanatic who assisted her father during his coaching career - died suddenly at the age of 34 on May 4th, 1996, from a heart malfunction. She is also buried at Ivy Hill Cemetery, close to her oldest sister Bonnie. She is survived by her husband and their only child. In Remember the Titans, released four years later, Sheryl is played by Hayden Panettiere, and is portrayed as Bill Yoast's only child.
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- Remember the Titans
- Herman Boone
- Inspirational/motivational instructors/mentors portrayed in films
- Will Patton, the actor who portrayed Yoast in 2000's Remember the Titans
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