Still "Undefeated"?-Part Three - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Still "Undefeated"?-Part Three

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    Friday, October 4 2013 3:43 PM EDT2013-10-04 19:43:45 GMT
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MEMPHIS, Tenn. (FOX13) -

Life after the Oscar-winning documentary, "Undefeated."

For the three teens under the spotlight, it's been a time of ups and downs, but for the man who volunteered to coach the 2009 Manassas football team it has been a whirlwind.

Football is a recurring theme in the life of Bill Courtney.  He walked on at Ole Miss. That didn't pan out but he hit the field to play in the Charity Bowl he founded there in 1990; they raised $50,000 for a paralyzed player. And that charity is still going strong.

MORE: Still Undefeated - Part 1
MORE: Still Undefeated - Part 2

Fast forward to 2001. Courtney started a lumberyard in North Memphis near Manassas High. Two years later, he found himself back on the field, this time at Manassas.

"We started with 17 and built the team to 70 over the course of six years. The previous 10 years record was four wins and 95 losses. Our last two years we went 18-2," says Coach Bill.

A success story documented, in part, by the Oscar winning documentary, "Undefeated."

"An amazing group of kids that just wanted to be good at something and part of something bigger than themselves and they just had to be shown a way," says Coach Bill.

Courtney likes to say "there's a story under every helmet" and he's quick to point out that while the documentary focused on three teens, there are others who are quietly defying the odds - like #1 Terrance Oliver - T.O.

Courtney says, "He's a senior, graduating senior at Austin Peay and is a starter on the football team; and has done it without a whole lot of help."

There's Dexter Alexander, #26 and Dante Harris #13. Both seniors at Murray State in Kentucky.

Chris Glover, #24, is now studying at Arkansas State.

"I still love those kids with all my heart...," says Courtney.

As for Coach Bill, he's making the circuit.  He is traveling the world, making motivational speeches and talking about "Undefeated." "I get to tell a very Memphis story."

The rest of the story he has put on paper. "I just finished a book I'm very proud of...I shot a pilot for a TV show," says Courtney.

The book, "Against the Grain," comes out next year; Courtney can't talk about the pilot just yet.

Despite the success and fame, he insists that "Undefeated" hasn't changed who he is. "How sad would it be if a movie and a 14-inch gold statue changed fundamentally the way you carry yourself and who you are? If that were the case, everything you see in 'Undefeated' would be a bunch of crap."  

The lessons taught in "Undefeated" are evergreen. The impact of Courtney's message resonates in young lives he helped mold.

"Anything we needed, he got it for us. He is a big part of my life," says O.C. Brown
"Coach Courtney gave us the tools we needed and it was up to us whether we put those tools…everyday life," says Chavis Daniels.

So there is still the day job and the coaching.  After that 2009 season, Courtney focused on his own family, coaching his son's team at St. George's to a state championship.
He has just finished coaching his youngest son at Grace St. Lukes; ending with a fifteen and one record for the two years. It's clear. This man knows how to coach.

Valerie: Have you gotten offers to coach?
Coach Courtney: "Oh yeah!"
Valerie: "College?"
Coach Courtney: "Yes. People call all the time and throw ideas around."

He says he'll never leave the lumber yard with 120 employees who depend on him. But when pressed, "I love the game, love relating to the players, love what can be created...you know....who knows?"

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