UNDEFEATED – Interview with Head Coach Bill Courtney

2 03 2012

The word Character is defined as, “moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.”.  Bill Courtney volunteered his time, energy and heart to a community in one of the most down trodden areas of Memphis, Tennessee.  Undefeated is the Oscar winning documentary, from Dan Lindsey and TJ Martin, that captures the final season in Bill Courtney’s historic tenure as Manassas High School’s Head Coach.  PSD was able to chat with Coach Courtney about the documentary, the high school and most importantly the kids who’s lives he helped impact for the better.

From Synopsis:

“Dan Lindsay and T.J. Martin’s documentary UNDEFEATED is an intimate chronicle of three underprivileged student-athletes from inner-city Memphis and the volunteer coach trying to help them beat the odds on and off the field.”

Oscar glory was well deserved for this new and dynamic duo and their fantastic team.  When I was granted the chance to chat with the “star” of the documentary, Head Coach Bill Courtney, I was most curious about how Dan and TJ had gotten such great access.  Coach Courtney talks about how the guys and producer Rich Middlemas fully invested their time, energy and heart into this project.

I asked Coach Courtney what made him grant this much access?

Bill talked about what had initially pushed him to coach at Manassas High School.

In the film we follow the 2009 season an in particular two senior lineman (O.C. Brown and Montrail “Money” Brown) and one junior linebacker (Chavis).  I asked Coach what was it that he first noticed in the guys when they were in 7th and 8th grade.

The documentary immediately captures the real fear for these kid’s lives when Coach Courtney is introducing his team to a new season by talking about the kids he’s lost in previous seasons.  He’s had kid’ss family members killed, he’s had kids battle their own inner demons and he’s even had players that were killed.  The harsh reality was something that Coach wanted to make clear.

Montrail “Money” Brown is a perfect example of the uplifting inspirational figures from the film.  His story isn’t about his incredible physical athleticism but rather his heart and character.

There is one moment in the film where Coach Courtney finds out someone wants to help “Money” make it to college.

But Coach had to make certain this incredible offer was legit before he’d dare break the news to Montrail.  Bill talked about that phone call.

Another scene in the film where  we truly see Coach Courtney cry happened when he had a brief moment with OC.

I ended our talk by asking Coach Courtney for an update of what’s happened for him since and he gave a more in depth response then what the film alludes to in it’s ending.

For more information on this amazingly inspirational and moving documentary click, here.

The film opens today, March 2nd.

For instance, the great folks at the Angelika Dallas are showing the Oscar Winning documentary.

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