May 1, 1921 - Oct 3, 2012
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Track Coach, Olympian
Born in Braintree, Mass., Boo Morcom was the youngest of six brothers. His athletic ability became evident at an early age, and he was a champion pole vaulter, high jumper and long jumper at Braintree High School (Mass.), where he set numerous records. He went on to the University of New Hampshire and again set many school records in his three specialty events. His long jump record at UNH stood for 67 years.
Boo left UNH in 1943, after his junior year, to join the Army during WWII. He was an officer and paratrooper in the elite 11th Airborne Division and served in the Pacific Theater. When he returned to UNH he took up where he had left off and continued to set records and win track medals and trophies until his graduation. Boo was so good that the track coach at Tufts, faced with the prospect of his jumpers being disheartened by Boo's abilities, said to UNH Track Coach Paul Sweet, "If you leave him at home, we'll give you the 15 points for three first-place finishes."
In 1948, Boo was the National Champion in the pole vault and was a member of the 1948 USA Olympic Team that competed in London. He considered it one of the crowning achievements of his life.
He became assistant track and field coach at the University of Pennsylvania in 1948, and, two years later, was recalled for duty in the Korean War, where he served as an officer and jumpmaster in the 101st Airborne Division known as "The Screaming Eagles."
In 1952 Boo returned to Penn where he spent 35 years as an assistant track coach, head track coach and, finally, director of intramural athletics. In 1956 he was chosen as a coach for the USA Women's Olympic Track Team that competed in Melbourne, Australia.
Boo retired to his home on Lake Sunapee in New Hampshire at the age of 62 and took an interest in coaching local high school track and field. He coached as a volunteer at Concord High School, Lebanon High School, and Kearsarge Regional High School among others. A true Renaissance man, he also created remarkable and lauded works of art in various media, took cover photos for magazines, wrote published historical papers, was a member of MENSA, and became one of the top experts in the field of antique American glass bottles. He also traveled the world competing in the Master's Track and Field Program, where he was such a prolific record-setter that, at age 66, he was awarded the New Hampshire Male Athlete of the Year Trophy.
During his lifetime, Boo was elected into seven halls of fame, including the Braintree High School Athletic Hall of Fame, the UNH Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pole Vault Hall of Fame, the Massachusetts Track Coaches Hall of Fame, and as a coach in the Women's Track and Field Hall of Fame.
Boo is survived by a son, David; two daughters, Carol S. Morcom of Wilmington, Del., and Bonney E. Teti of Wilmot; as well as seven grandchildren, and eight great-grandchildren.
Memorial contributions may be made to UNH Track Team, c/o UNH Foundation, 9 Edgewood Road, Durham, NH 03824.
Published in The Concord Monitor on Oct. 11, 2012