Photo by Jack Robert/Greenville Journal

Wade Hampton High School’s track facility will be named after Sam McCollum, a longtime coach and social studies teacher who taught at the school for 30 years.

The initial request was made by Rick Zeller, chair of Wade Hampton’s social studies department who taught and coached alongside McCollum from 1986-2006.

“Coach McCollum represents what is best of teachers and coaches in this district. Coach McCollum was loyal, caring, hard­working, and a role model for many who needed a ‘father figure’ in their lives,” Zeller said in the letter to the district.

After Zeller made the request, several letters of support for the name change came from the principal, athletic directors, and even McCollum’s former athletic rival — Ed Boehmke, retired track and field coach for Eastside High School.

“His retirement left a huge hole in the quality of track coaches in Greenville County,” Boehmke said in a letter he sent to Greenville County Schools board members in August. “A lot can be said about winning records and championship season (of which Sam had a few), but more can be said about the quality of his athletes and the love and admiration that athletes have for their coach as well as the many life lessons of teamwork, respect, and work ethic that Sam instilled in his athletes.”

The Greenville County Schools board of trustees voted unanimously to approve the name change to the Sam McCollum Track and Field Facility at a meeting in August.

“He was the best and finest coach to touch thousands of students’ lives, not only as a social studies teacher, but also as a football coach, a great track coach, as well as even coaching one year of girls soccer,” board member Lynda Leventis-Wells said.

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