Former Trojan Linebacker Takes Command Of Titans

April 25, 2001

The T.C. Williams High Titans, the football team made famous by the hit film 'Remember the Titans' starring Denzel Washington, has named former USC linebacker Riki Ellison as its head coach, the high school in Alexandria, Vir., announced recently.

Ellison, who played at USC from 1978-1982, takes over for Eric Henderson, who resigned after compiling a 4-16 record in the past two seasons.

T.C. Williams, which won state titles in 1971, 1984 and 1987, hasn't been to the playoffs since 1990. Ellison's experience of playing on USC's 1978 national championship team, plus his three Super Bowl rings, gives him the credentials to get the Titans back to the level of their glory years.

'I want to teach the ethics, character development and values that create championships,' said Ellison.

Ellison also wants to interact with younger kids in the community, where he hopes to instill important values in them before they reach high school.

'I'm really focused on getting the kids to believe in what I want to do, not just in football, but in their outlook on life,' he said.

Ellison had an outstanding career as an inside linebacker at USC. He started as a true freshman on the 1978 national championship team, finishing third on the team in tackles with 86, including a team-high 15 against Michigan in the Rose Bowl. As a sophomore in 1979, he made All-Pac-10 first-team while collecting 96 tackles. His junior year was cut short with a knee injury that kept him out of the 1981 season, but he returned in 1982 to lead the team in tackles with 131. After that season, he was taken in the fifth round by the San Francisco 49ers, with whom he later won three Super Bowl titles.

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