Memphian Courtney featured in New York Times Q & A

Bill Courtney: “The great thing about all of this is that anybody can do it.” (Photo by Lance Murphey for The New York Times)

Native Memphian, entrepreneur and “Undefeated” star Bill Courtney’s profile continues to rise, the latest example being an interview in The New York Times.

Courtney is the subject of Bryan Burkhart’s Q&A in the “You’re the Boss” blog and the material is compelling reading, both for folks who know the local businessman and recent Society of Entrepreneurs inductee and for those who don’t.

Here’s a sampling:

A couple of weeks ago, I took to Twitter with the following imperative: “If you haven’t seen the film Undefeated, you should asap. @IamCoachBill is a real #leader who draws out the true #character of his players.”

I tweeted this message after watching “Undefeated,” which won the Academy Award for best documentary feature in 2011. The inspirational film takes place in Memphis and follows Bill Courtney and his Manassas Tigers high school football team through their 2009 season. It is a compelling human interest story — a school based in an impoverished part of Tennessee, where the average median income is less than $10,000, more than 70 percent of the homes don’t have a working car, and only 6 percent of the homes have a college graduate.

It is a great sports story about a football team that in the 10 years leading up to 2003 had accumulated a record of 5 wins and 95 losses and just six years later was casting an eye toward its first playoff appearance. Most important for readers of this blog, it is an extraordinary story of leadership.

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