James Robert Kennedy (Gooding, Jr.) -- nicknamed "Radio" because of his vintage radio collection and his love of music -- is a loner in Anderson, South Carolina, pushing his grocery cart up and down the streets. He speaks to no one and is rarely spoken to, until one day, Coach Harold Jones
(Harris), one of the town's most respected men and coach of the popular high school football team, befriends him. Radio is suspicious at first. But Coach Jones is persistent, even enlisting the help of Radio's mother. Jones' friends and family are taken aback as well since, until he met Radio, all his energies were poured exclusively into football.
Slowly, Coach Jones earns Radio's trust and opens up a new world to him. He invites Radio to help out at football practice and during games and to sit in on his classes at school, despite the initial misgivings of Principal Daniels (Woodward). Coach Jones' life is also enriched by Radio, from whom he learns to value friendship and family ties as much as he does coaching football. Still, there are those in town who believe that the coach's devotion to the young man is distracting him from his duties as head coach. Coach Jones is finally forced to make a difficult decision, which will impact both his growing friendship with Radio and his career as a football coach.