Jack Boyd made people smile.
The former Ocean City High School boys basketball coach and fixture on the Cape-Atlantic League sports scene for more than 40 years died Friday night.
Boyd, a Northfield resident, had a heart attack while visiting his sister in Virginia, Tom Williams, a family friend and Ocean City sports historian, said Saturday.
Boyd, who was in his 70s, had a larger-than-life personality.
“He brought the room to life,” Williams said Saturday.
Current Ocean City boys coach John Bruno said: “He was one of a kind. I don’t think I ever saw him in a bad mood. Nobody ever felt unhappy around Jack.”
Boyd grew up in Yeadon, Pa. He attended Yeadon High School and was named all Delaware County in three sports — football, basketball and baseball. Boyd played for Duke University from 1957-59.
Boyd replaced Dixie Howell — who also was a longtime member of the CAL basketball community and won two state titles with the Red Raiders — as the Ocean City boys basketball coach in 1968.
Boyd won 227 games in 16 seasons as Ocean City coach. He led the Red Raiders to the 1972 South Jersey Group II title and the 1973 CAL championship. Before coming to Ocean City, he won 28 games at Millville over three seasons. His 255 total career victories rank 13th all time among CAL coaches.
He is a member of the Ocean City and South Jersey Al Carino basketball Hall of Fame.
The Boyd family could not be reached for comment.
Bruno and Boyd would often go out after games and talk about the contests that Bruno’s team had just played.
“He had great insight into what teams did,” Bruno said. “I appreciated every minute I spent with him, and there’s not a man in this coaching world that I’ve grown to love and respect more than Jack.”
Boyd and his wife, Rita, each taught at Ocean City for more than 30 years before they retired. Boyd was still an active spring track official at at fall cross country meets.
Boyd often attended local sporting events. Ocean City girls basketball coach and teacher Paul Baruffi said Boyd had a way of communicating with students no matter their background.
“He brought everybody together,” Baruffi said. “Jack brought laughter. I’m devastated. I really am.”
Boyd’s youngest son, Jeff, as quarterback led Mainland Regional to South Jersey football titles in 1995 and 1996. His oldest son, John, ran cross country and played basketball for Mainland.
John Boyd III died at 32 on Feb. 20, 2005, of glioblastoma multiforme tumor in the brainstem.
The eldest Boyd was active in the Mainland booster club during the years his sons played.
But it wasn’t the wins and losses people remembered Saturday when word of Boyd’s death began to spread around CAL coaches and officials.
It was their personal interactions with the Boyd that stood out. People simply felt better about themselves after they spoke with him.
Williams recalled traveling to Madison Square Garden with Boyd to watch 1976 Ocean City graduate Bill Fisher play for South Florida.
“Within a few minutes, everybody within five rows knew (from Boyd) that the blonde kid down on the court had played (for Boyd),” Williams said. “That’s the way (Jack) was. He was very outgoing. He remembered things about people, so he could to talk to people (about what was important to them).”
Bruno said Boyd found something good to say about everybody with whom he came into contact. Boyd remembered names and family details of people he met years ago.
“Every conversation we had, he had me convinced we were going to go undefeated,” Bruno said.
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