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Coach Bill Courtney of ‘Undefeated’ documentary talks about ‘An Army of Normal Folks’ podcast

Coach Bill Courtney, who was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated,” chatted about his podcast “An Army of Normal Folks.”

Coach Bill Courtney
Coach Bill Courtney. Photo Courtesy Iron Light Productions
Coach Bill Courtney. Photo Courtesy Iron Light Productions

Coach Bill Courtney, who was the subject of the Oscar-winning documentary “Undefeated,” chatted about his podcast “An Army of Normal Folks.”

This past Thanksgiving, “An Army of Normal Folks” launched the “Don’t Be a Turkey Person” campaign, in an effort to challenge people. “This story was one of the most eye opening experiences and life lessons I have ever had,” he said.

“As such, I use it in the vast majority of my speeches; it is referred to numerous times in my book, ‘Against the Grain.’ I have told the story in countless interviews; and I have told it more than once on my own podcast, An Army of Normal Folks,” he said. 

“Alex, my producer, has heard me tell it many times and has always thought it was impactful. So, it was his idea to put a billboard in Time Square with the simple message: ‘Don’t Be A Turkey Person,’ and hopefully drive traffic to a well-produced 10-minute clip of me telling the story that would also link to An Army of Normal Folks. We did that, and it worked,” he elaborated.

Inspirations as a person and podcast host

Regarding his daily inspirations as an individual and podcast host, Courtney said, “I am inspired by normal people that do extraordinarily good works for others who aren’t as fortunate as themselves. We are so defined in today’s culture by what separates us.”

Courtney continued, “Our political beliefs, religious beliefs, race, creed, and even the areas we live in have become like trench warfare. We dig in, often unwilling to yield to or even consider other thoughts and ideas. Its killing our culture. Our political class, our national media, and social media all do a great job of exacerbating this problem by crafting narratives that further divide us and encourage us to dig in deeper.

“Meanwhile, our middle class is eroding, our civility is crumbling, our patriotism is being usurped by fear, and the most disadvantaged among us become more disenfranchised. So, it is my steadfast belief that the government and the powerbrokers that control our media are not only never going to fix our issues, but remain part of the problem. But, there is an answer: normal folks,” he said.

“Regardless of who you love, who you vote for, how you worship, or what you look like, I can celebrate and respect anyone serving someone less fortunate. Normal folks serving and engaging in positive work in our communities not only help the less fortunate, but also provide a platform where people from different walks of life can communicate, respect one another, and learn from each other,” he elaborated.

“If we had a literal army of millions of people engaging like this, we would no longer feel the need to dig trenches. So, normal folks inspire me because of the work they do each day, but also what an army of them could mean to our culture,” he added.

On his career-defining moments, he shared, “Many – far too numerous to mention here. But, when Sam Quinn worked all weekend along side me to fix broken equipment so I could run production the following Monday, I learned so much about humanity, commitment, and redemption.”

Subject matter of ‘Undefeated’

Courtney spoke about being the subject matter of the Academy Award-winning documentary “Undefeated.” “It was really unexpected,” he said. “I mean let’s be honest… I’m a guy from Memphis who has a lumber business and coaches football.”

“Then, three 29 year old guys show up and follow us around for about seven months, capture about 550 hours of film, and go back to LA to ‘make a movie.’ We thought maybe – just maybe – we might see this one night at 2 a.m. some Wednesday on a channel you have never heard of,” he elaborated.

“A year later, I’m walking down the red carpet at the Oscars. So, it was unexpected, surprising, and humbling that our little story resonated with so many people,” he added. 

When asked about what this documentary taught him about himself, he said with a sweet laugh, “I talk funny and need to lose weight.”

Future plans

On his future plans with his “An Army of Normal Folks” podcast, Courtney said, “I want it to be the No. 1 listened to podcast on Earth. The reason is simple. The more people listening and joining in community with each other celebrating normal people doing extraordinary work, the more possible impact we can have on society.” 

Success

On his definition of the word success, Courtney said, “As a result of whatever business, initiative, or work one is engaged in, are you and the people around you enriched by the effort? If they are, you are a success. If they aren’t, you failed.”

Courtney concluded about the “Don’t Be a Turkey Person” campaign, “Motive matters as much as the work itself.” 

To learn more about “An Army of Normal Folks,” check out its official website.

For more information on Oscar winner Coach Bill Courtney, follow him on Instagram and check out his official homepage.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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