The documentary film "Leonard George and the Tigers" premiered at historic Tampa Theatre in downtown Tampa on February 8.
An inspiring recounting of the 1968 Jesuit football State Champions and their star player, Leonard George '69, the movie debuted on the big screen to an audience of more than 700 Jesuit alumni, family, and friends. In the 70-minute documentary, producer Drew Marquardt tells the remarkable story of a young man who broke racial and social barriers during the turbulent times near the end of the Civil Rights Movement.
George developed a special brotherhood with his Jesuit teammates, and that brotherhood helped them achieve the football State Championship in 1968 – the first ever by a school from Tampa. George also became the first Black player to sign to play football at the University of Florida and to score a touchdown in Tuscaloosa, Ala. vs. the University of Alabama. During the 2021 football season, George was honored by the University of Florida as a "Barrier Breaker."
After the movie ended, George walked on stage to a rousing standing ovation. Then he and Marquardt answered questions about the film from Jesuit's Director of Development, Nick Suszynski '98. George closed the show by inviting the 2021 Jesuit football State Champions to come down to the stage and be recognized. (Pictured on the homepage with George at Tampa Theatre are L-R Steve Matesich '91; Jesuit football assistant coaches Cameron Ruff '13 and Darrell Palmer; Jesuit head coach Matt Thompson; George; Martha Minahan, the widow of George's head coach at Jesuit, Bill Minahan; Robert Morrison '71; and Jesuit assistant coach Matt Kaiser.)
Three members of the Class of 1969 were behind the making of "Leonard George and the Tigers," George Franklin, Dr. Steve Krist, and Arnold Sheidler. To view the movie, which is now available on Jesuit High School's YouTube channel, click this link: https://youtu.be/vEQiC0HqjGw.
A photo slideshow from the premiere is below.
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