Thursday, July 18, 2024

“Eddie” Collymore and Bill Hazelwood, outstanding athletes in high school and college, leveraged their sports successes into award-winning careers in higher education and media.


Edward Leon Collymore

Edward Leon Collymore. (Photo: Cambridge Black History Project)

Edward Leon Collymore (1938-2023) was born in Cambridge to Percival and Eulah (Johnson) Collymore. Eddie grew up on Kinnaird Street and attended Houghton Grammar and Rindge Technical High schools, setting numerous Rindge running records. In his senior year the track team competed in the 1955 National High School Championship: Eddie won the 440-meter, and the team won the championship.

He got a full scholarship from Villanova University and enrolled with fellow Rindge athletes Charlie Jenkins and Charley Stead; Ed recalled that they were known as “the Boys from Boston.” Collymore was an outstanding student and, as a Villanova Wildcat, was a three-time All American in the 200-meter, shared the 1959 60-yard dash indoor world record and achieved career highs in the NCAA (1957) and Penn Relays (1958).

Eddie graduated in 1959 with a bachelor’s in economics, enlisted in the Marine Corps and became a Cambridge-based Middlesex County juvenile probation officer. He wanted to work with youth, and in 1969 returned to Villanova to assist the president in a new program helping underqualified students navigate academic and personal concerns. He received a master’s in counseling education there and a doctorate in educational administration from the University of Pennsylvania.

Collymore remained at Villanova for 35 years, retiring in 2004 as executive director of its Office of Multicultural Affairs. The Edward Collymore Honor Society celebrates scholars of high academic integrity and fosters their professional growth. Eddie and his wife, Marcia (Burnett), had two children, Sandra and Edward Jr. 

Collymore is buried at Valley Forge Memorial Gardens in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania.


William Hazelwood Jr. 

William Hazelwood Jr. (Photo: Cambridge Black History Project)

William Hazelwood Jr. (1948-2009) grew up in Jefferson Park with his two younger sisters and their parents, Emily and William Lewis Hazelwood Sr. He attended the Fitzgerald and Agassiz (now Baldwin) elementary schools and graduated from Cambridge High and Latin in 1965; his class voted him secretary and best dancer. He was an outstanding athlete who played basketball and football and ran indoor and outdoor track. He taught sailing at the Charles River Community Boathouse and became its dock master.

Bill also developed a passion for rowing and, during his brief attendance at Northeastern University, rowed on one of its winning crews. He transferred to Emerson College when he was offered a basketball scholarship. He graduated from there in 1970 with a bachelor’s degree in speech and was listed in the 1969-1970 edition of Who’s Who Among Students in American Universities and Colleges.

Hazelwood left for the West Coast to pursue a broadcasting career and produced and directed shows for the PBS affiliate KQED and CBS affiliate KPIX, including “Yan Can Cook,” theWeekend Evening News” and “People Are Talking.” In 1973 he won a Regional Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Special Programming as the producer of KPIX’s prime-time program “All Together Now.” Later he became the manager of electronic media communications for the paper conglomerate Crown Zellerbach; was an instructor in San Francisco State University’s Broadcasting and Electronic Communication Arts Department; and founded his own media company, Sojourna Productions, a pioneer in distance-learning.

He died suddenly in San Pancho, Nayarit, Mexico, at the age of 61.


About the Cambridge Black History Project

The Cambridge Black History Project is an all-volunteer organization of individuals having deep roots in Cambridge. We are committed to researching, accurately documenting, preserving and illuminating the journeys, accomplishments and challenges of Black Cantabrigians, and to raising awareness of their stories through educational outreach to the Cambridge community and beyond.