Lt.Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp presents Marcus Gilchrist with the scholar athlete award
Lt.Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, commanding general of U.S. Army Accessions Command presents Marcus Gilchrist with the scholar athlete award during a ceremony in San Antonio. Gilchrist is a defensive back from High Point, N.C., who will represent the East squad during this Saturday's "All-American" Bowl all-star football game.

SAN ANTONIO, Texas - One of the ongoing traditions leading up to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl high school all-star football game is the Boone-Yoast barbecue.

The dinner, held at La Villita Thursday, offered Soldier Heroes and the high school football players, their families and coaches the opportunity to get to know each other, while enjoying good food, music, inspirational speakers, and the presentation of the scholar athletes and Coach of the Year awards.

The event was hosted by Herman Boone and William "Bill" Yoast, former high school football coaches at T.C. Williams High School, best known for being featured in the 2000 film Remember the Titans. The movie is about their 1971 13-0 season when the school became integrated and how the coaches worked through their differences and their players to win the state title.

In attendance were two of Boone and Yoast's former players, which he said, shows the impact coaches have on players.

Coach Boone told a story about another former Titan who went to medical school through the U.S. Army and became a successful surgeon.

He then encouraged the more than 80 coaches in attendance to encourage their future players who can't get scholarships to college that the Army is an excellent career option.

"I'm not a recruiter for the U.S. Army, although I have the greatest respect for the Army than anybody can ever have having not ever served a day," Boone said.

Following Boone and Yoast's comments, Mr. John P. McLaurin, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Army for Manpower and Reserve Affairs and Lt. Gen. Robert L. Van Antwerp, Accessions Command commanding general inspired the audience.

During Mr. McLaurin's speech, the lights dimmed and the "Army Strong" video played.

Lt.Gen. Van Antwerp related the importance of two "Army Strong" lines, "the strength to get over and the strength to get over yourself," to everyone in the room.

General Van Antwerp spoke about the importance of players, coaches and families to lead by example because their actions are being watched. He then placed medals around the All-American high school scholar athletes, awarding them for not only being one of the top athletes in the nation, but also performing at the top of their class in the classroom.

The U.S. Army Band, out of Washington D.C., was the entertainment during the event, singing and playing a number of famous hits from throughout the decades.

"This event is a great tribute to players and Soldiers," said Sergeant 1st Class Thomas Mortenson, 63rd Regional Readiness Command in Phoenix, Ariz. "To be involved in an event like this is an honor."

Page last updated Thu May 3rd, 2012 at 12:48