Morning Briefing: Julius Campbell, featured in ‘Remember the Titans,’ dies at 65


In a strange bit of coincidence, the same week that readers of Morning Briefing and our new daily emailed sports newsletter voted “Remember the Titans” one of the five best football movies of all time, one of the stars of the team featured in that movie died.

Julius Campbell died Friday of organ failure, according to a report from the Washington Post. He was 65.

Campbell played defensive end at T.C. Williams High, which was racially integrated in 1971 by combining three schools in Alexandria, Va. The new team went 13-0 and won the Virginia AAA state championship.


Campbell was played by Wood Harris in the movie, and the friendship that began between Campbell and Gerry Bertier is the centerpiece of the film, which stars Denzel Washington as coach Herman Boone.

“Julius was very, very instrumental on that team at simply getting kids to just talk to one another, kids who never talked to kids from another race their entire lives,” the real Herman Boone, who coached the Titans from 1971 to 1979, told the Post. “By doing so, they learned many things about each other that were not passed down to them, and for that, the world owes Julius a debt of gratitude.”

Boone added, “Julius took it upon himself to lead the team and rebuild race relations. He talked to members of the team even up at Gettysburg about how we could come together. It was Julius who came up with the saying that our team is a team of one group of people with ‘one vision.’ And in order to win we must have ‘one heartbeat.’ ”

Best football movies

As we build to determining the best sports movie of all time, we received 8,587 ballots from people in our poll to determine the five best football movies ever. The top five:

“Brian’s Song,” named on 69.1% of the ballots

“Remember the Titans,” 52.5%

“The Longest Yard” (1974), 48.4%

“Rudy,” 46.6%

“Jerry Maguire,” 35.3%

The rest:

“The Blind Side,” 34.7%

“North Dallas Forty,” 31.8%

“Friday Night Lights,” 29.2%

“We Are Marshall,” 23%

“Knute Rockne, All American,” 19.3%

“Any Given Sunday,” 16.9%

“Draft Day,” 12.6%

“Horse Feathers,” 12.3%

“Semi-Tough,” 11.4%

“The Replacements,” 9.6%

“Invincible,” 8.2%

“The Waterboy,” 8.2%

“Concussion,” 7%

“Varsity Blues,” 4.1%

“The Program,” 3.5%

“Radio,” 3.2%

“Gus,” 2.9%

“Wildcats,” 2.9%

“The Longest Yard” (2005), 2.4%

“The Freshman,” 2.1%

“Leatherheads,” 1.8%

“Necessary Roughness,” 1.7%

“Gridiron Gang,” 0%

No one voted for “Gridiron Gang!” Please don’t tell the Rock. I don’t want him to layeth the smacketh-down on me.

Up next are the five best basketball movies of all time. You can vote by typing in the URL or by emailing me at

Chicago wants Manny

How much do the Chicago White Sox want Manny Machado to join their team? So much that three White Sox players spoke with him via Facetime during the team’s SoxFest fan event over the weekend. Yonder Alonso, Yoan Moncada and Jose Abreu all joined in a plea for Machado to sign with the team. Machado was getting ready to play golf and didn’t really have an answer for them. Alonso is also Machado’s brother-in-law.

What did Pete Rose have?

DeMarcus Cousins, who has received many technical fouls in his career, went all of three games before picking one up as a member of the Golden State Warriors. And that cost money. But not his — coach Steve Kerr’s. “Yeah, I lost a bet,” Kerr told the Bay Area radio station KNBR 680. “I had Game 2 as his first technical. But it took three games.”