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Eulie Peacock

Sport: Track & Field

Born: August 27, 1914

Died: December 13, 1996

Town: Union

Eulace Peacock was born August 27, 1914 in Dothan Alabama and grew up in northern New Jersey—first in East Orange and then in Union, where he starred in football, basketball and track. In his final high school track meet, in 1933, Eulie set a national prep record with a long jump of 24’ 4.25”. When he got home he heard on the radio that Jesse Owens had better his mark a couple of hours later. It was the first time he had heard of Owens.

Eulie, who had scored 23 touchdowns as a senior, enrolled at Temple University with the intent of playing football—his older brother, James, was captain of the Owls. They had hired Pop Warner to coach the team and Eulie was excited about playing for the living legend. During a fall practice, track coach Ben Ogden saw Eulie run the length of the field and immediately grabbed him for the track team.

In 1934 and 1935, Eulie was the AAU pentathlon champion. During this time he went head-to-head with Owens in 100-meter sprints and actually won as often as he lost. He also outperformed Owens in the long jump. During an event in Europe, Eulie tied the fastest-ever time in the 100 meters. A serious hamstring injury denied him the chance to make the 1936 Olympic team, clearing the path for Owens to become the star of the Summer Games in Berlin.

After the 1936 Olympics, Owens never raced again on the national stage, choosing instead to parlay his fame into personal appearances and endorsements. Eulie continued to compete in AAU events and was the national pentathlon champion again in 1937, 1943, 1944 and 1945. He worked for the IRS and also served in the Coast Guard during World War II. After his competitive career, Eulie officiated at college track events.

In the 1950s, Eulie and his wife, Betty, adopted two children and bought a home in Yonkers. He ran a liquor store and a car-rental business in town and the Peacock house played host to numerous sports and entertainment icons, including Nat King Cole, Paul Robeson and Jesse Owens.

Eulie developed Alzheimer’s and moved into a nursing home in Yonkers. He died at the age of 82.

 

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