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So to Speak: The Free Speech Podcast takes an uncensored look at the world of free expression through personal stories and candid conversations.
New episodes post every other Thursday.

Jan 4, 2024

Bill Courtney is an American football coach, entrepreneur, author, and the subject of the academy award winning 2011 documentary “Undefeated,” which tells the story of Courtney leading a high school football team in an economically depressed area of Memphis, Tenn. to the playoffs.

Courtney is the host of the An Army of Normal Folks podcast, in which he shares stories of “ordinary people doing extraordinary things in and around their communities.” His book “Against the Grain: A Coach's Wisdom on Character, Faith, Family, and Love” was released in 2014.

In this episode, we discuss coaching, the surprise success of “Undefeated,” and how talking across lines of difference can heal a polarized America.



0:00 Introduction

2:25 Courtney’s background

5:41 The influence of coaches

16:50 How Courtney ended up at Manassas High School

18:50 Coaching in difficult environments

24:30 Bridging divides

30:12 Forgiveness and grace

35:57 Daryl Davis

42:45 The “death spiral” of division and polarization

53:15 What happened to Manassas after Courtney left?

54:00 How did the filmmakers find Manassas?

59:21 Was the documentary good for the school and the kids?

Show Transcript