By Gregory Crofton
Coach Bill Courtney (the man hugging the player in the photo above) is what makes “UNDEFEATED” a fascinating story about a down-and-out Memphis high school football program. Football builds character, but so does he.
Courtney made his living as a car salesman, and then as a lumber salesman, before founding his own business in 2001, Classic American Hardwoods. Soon he was able to carve time out of his schedule to add his real passion, coaching football, to his life. He found work at Manassass High School in Memphis not far from the banks of the Mississippi River.
Growing up Courtney’s father was absent from his life, part of the reason he’s able to relate to his players, many of whom don’t have fathers in theirs. But overall, Courtney, a quintessentially American character himself, turns the Manassass football program around by relying on his hard-driving work ethic and a devotion to God. The coach scours the halls of the school for talent, then trains his kids using real love and discipline.
The filmmakers – T.J. Martin and Dan Lindsay — whose first film was about competitive beer pong — don’t fumble the ball for even a second in this doc. They have a knack for capturing intimate moments in this season-long story that are astounding. Plus the film is shot beautifully, at times it looks like a Hollywood feature film.
Don’t miss “UNDEFEATED.” Below you can watch a trailer for the film.