Celebrating Glen Morris

Apr 282011
Authors: Bonnie Cleveland

The South College Field House has held its location-based name for 87 years, ever since it was built in 1924.  This changed last Friday when it became the Glenn Morris Field House. 

“We were delighted by the support received from campus and the community at the Glenn Morris Field House naming ceremony,” said Matthew Helmer, Executive Director of CSU Events & Constituent Engagement.  “The Glenn Morris Field House — where Morris trained for the 1936 Olympics — now stands as a tribute to his enduring legacy. 

Morris’ former Simla High School principal Morris Verves had previously proposed the field house be renamed after Glen Morris, who died of congestive heart failure in 1974. 

CSU’s Vice President of External Relations Anthony Phifer said this name change has resulted from the right people recently becoming aware of Morris’ accomplishments. 

This year also marks the 75th anniversary of Glenn Morris’ gold medal accomplishment in the decathlon during the1936 Berlin Olympics.

“Tony Frank and the Board of Directors recognized great accomplishment,” Phifer said. 

Morris’ gold medal has been donated to CSU and is now on display in the Glenn Morris Field House. 

Morris also achieved a world record of 7,900 points in the decathlon, a record that stood for 14 years. 

CSU’s head track coach Brian Bedard said the decathlon is composed of 10 events over a two-day period.  Including throwing discus, shot and javelin, the long jump, high jump, a 100-meter dash, a 400-meter, the 110 hurdles, pole vault and a 1,500-meter run. 

“The decathlon is devised to show speed, power, jumping abilities and distance.  The best all-around athlete,” Bedard said. 

Phifer noted that Morris won the Sullivan award upon his return from Berlin.  The Sullivan award is “based on qualities of leadership, character, sportsmanship and the ideals of amateurism,” according to the Sullivan mission statement. 

The Sullivan award is the “Oscar” of sport awards.  Morris received this honor over Jesse Owens, who won four gold medals at the Berlin Olympics. 

“Morris was greatly celebrated when he came back from the Olympics,” Phifer said. 

Glenn Morris graduated from CSU, what was then Colorado A&M, in 1935 with degrees in economics and sociology.  During his time here Morris competed in football, basketball, and track and field.  He was also student body president. 

After graduating, Morris continued to train in the field house for the 1936 Berlin Olympics. 

The field house is an improved building from the time Morris ran.  The building’s structure itself is the same, but the dirt track that Morris ran on is now banked and was resurfaced this past summer.

Other CSU track and field alumni that have competed in the Olympics are Wendy Koenig Knudson (1972, 1976), Pam Greene (1972, 1980), Scott Stoll (1994), Libbie Johnson Hickman (2000), Casey Malone (2004, 2008), Loree Smith (2008). 

_Staff writer Bonnie Cleveland can be reached at news@collegian.com. _

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