James J. McPoland
James J. McPoland was born in Catskill, New York on March 22, 1915. His athletic career began at P.S. 189 in New York City where he won the 60-yard dash in the Public School Athletic League Championships. At George Washington High School he won more varsity sports letters than any student in the history of the school – in track, football, baseball, swimming, handball, soccer and golf.In 1934 he captained the Football Team and was selected as the quarterback on the New York City All Scholastic Football Team. He also captained the track team and was leadoff runner on the half mile and mile relay teams. The mile relay team won the Class A and B Championships of America at the Penn Relays two years in succession – 1934 and 1935. The same team also set an indoors scholastic world record that remained for 35 years. A book written about George Washington High School devotes and entire chapter to “Jim McPoland-The Perfect All Round Athlete.” Upon graduation, he received 18 college scholarships offers, several for football.
Jim McPoland entered Georgetown University where he competed as a freshman in many invitation races at Madison Square Garden and was anchorman on the undefeated mile relay team, which won the championship of the United States at the Penn Relays. As a sophomore he anchored the undefeated varsity mile relay team to AAU and Intercollegiate Championships, setting records en route.
He transferred to New York University to pursue a teaching degree, and here he won championships in swimming and the 155-pound titles in wrestling and boxing intramural competition. In 1939 he became the leadoff man on the famous one mile relay team that was undefeated for two years, winning the AAU National and Intercollegiate Championships, both indoors and outdoors. In 1940 he was elected captain of the NYU track team that won the Intercollegiate Championship and was leadoff man on both the half mile and mile relay teams that were undefeated and set world indoor records in both events. He was also leadoff man on the 1600-meter relay team that set a world’s indoor record and in 1940 was chosen the “Outstanding All Round Athelete”at New York University.
McPoland also represented the New York Athletic Club for nine years and as an individual competitor won several Junior and Senior Metropolitan AAU Championships in the 100, 220 and 440-yard events. In 1935 he anchored the club’s 1000 meter “Swedish” Relay (100, 200, 300 and 400 meters) to a new world’s indoor record, a record that stood for 40 years. He also won the 300-yard dash in an International Invitational Meet held at Randall’s Island against the fastest runners in the world. During his illustrious career, he won more than 500 medals, trophies and awards.
He enlisted as a private in the Marine Corps during World War II, where he earned the coveted Navy Cross for extraordinary heroism in action against the enemy forces on Iwo Jima, a battle in which he was wounded three times and for which he received three Purple Hearts. He was honorably discharged from the Marine Corps as a Major.
In 1945, Jim McPoland established his home in Yonkers and immediately became involved with the youth of his community. He coached and directed youngsters in many athletic pursuits. He was one of the first Directors of the Yonkers Little League and the first president of the East Yonkers Little League. He obtained the first charter for and established the original Babe Ruth Baseball League for Yonkers