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Bill O'Connor, official and Woburn coach, passes

posted Oct 17, 2016, 9:38 AM by Paul Williams   [ updated Oct 17, 2016, 12:38 PM ]
Hall of Fame Woburn Coach William O'Connor passed away on Sunday after a nine-year battle with cancer. O’Connor was a member of MTFOA and a valued member of the MSTCA Executive Board. He was 72.

Relatives and friends are invited to call Wednesday, Oct. 19, from 3:00 to 8:00 p.m. at Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn. Plans for a Memorial Mass will be announced in the coming weeks. 

O'Connor coached for 30 years at Woburn Memorial High School. Prior to this, he was head coach of cross country, indoor and outdoor Track at Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA, for 14 seasons, where his team won Central MA Championships in all three seasons. Several of his runners won State, New England or National titles at the high school, college or open level.

Coach O'Connor's Woburn cross country teams have combined for a record of 301-215. His career record for cross country is 409-271. Collectively, the Tanners have won eight Middlesex League Championships, several Invitationals, two Eastern MA Division I Championships, and had 10 State Finalist Teams. In addition, his program has produced eight Boston Globe and Herald All-Scholastics and 20 Daily Times Chronicle "Performers of the Year." His record as a head coach in Indoor Track is 135-72-4.

O'Connor was honored in 1995 as the Boston Globe's All-Scholastic "Coach of the Year" for girls cross country. In addition, he was named the Daily Times Chronicle "Coach of the Year" for Fall Sports in 1988 and 1994, and just recently, in his 44th year of coaching, he was named Eastern MA Girls Indoor Track Coach of the Year. In 1997, a footbridge at Horn Pond was named in his honor for his dedication and commitment to Woburn's running programs. 

In 1999, he was inducted into the Massachusetts State Track Coaches Association Hall of Fame and, in April 2001, the new indoor track at the Joyce Middle School in Woburn was named in his honor. In 2008, he was instrumental in the boys indoor track team winning their first ever All-State Championship and directly responsible for the boys 4x400m relay team winning the National Championship. He was inducted into the Algonquin Regional Hall of Fame in 2011. 

Competitively, O’Connor ran for Woburn High and Northeastern University. He is also the founder and director of the popular Summer Fun-Runs held at Horn Pond, which have been held for more than 30 years. He was also the inaugural coach of the Shamrock Running Club for 13 years. 

O’Connor held Bachelor and Masters Degrees in Physical Education, Health and General Science. Twelve years ago he retired after 34 years as a teacher in the Northborough-Southborough Public School system. 

The obituary follows:
WILLIAM R. “COACH” O’CONNOR- of Woburn, October 15th, seventy-two years of age. Beloved husband of Kathleen A. (Conway) O’Connor. Devoted father of Patrick J. O’Connor, his wife Jennifer Breen O’Connor of Weymouth and Caitlin O’Connor Balwin, her husband Matthew of NH. Dear brother of John O’Connor, his wife Lois of FL, James O’Connor of Woburn and the late Edward J. O’Connor, Jr., Katherine McGann and Lawrence O’Connor. Cherished grandfather of Jake C. and Ryan J. Baldwin. Relatives and friends are respectfully invited to call Wednesday, October 19th, from 3:00-8:00 p.m. at Lynch-Cantillon Funeral Home, 263 Main Street, Woburn. Plans for a Memorial Mass will be announced in the coming weeks. Remembrances may be made in Coach’s memory to the Woburn Memorial High Scholarship Fund, in memory of William “Coach” O’Connor, P.O. Box 202, Woburn, MA 01801.