Bill Bowerman, Talk:Bill Bowerman
William J. Bowerman
(b. February 19
in Fossil, Oregon
, d. December 25
) was an American track and field coach
. He was a very successful track and field coach, having trained 31 Olympic
athletes, 51 All-American
s, 12 American record-holders, 24 NCAA champions, and 16 sub-4 minute mile
rs. During his 24 years as coach at the University of Oregon
, the track and field team had a winning season every season but one, attained 4 NCAA
titles, and finished in the top 10 in the nation 16 times.
Bowerman graduated from Medford Senior High School
in Medford, Oregon
, where he played for the state champion football team his junior and senior years. When he enrolled at the University of Oregon
in 1929, he played football and basketball for four years and was a member of the Beta Theta Pi
fraternity. He later joined the university's track team, running the 440-yard dash for two seasons under track coaching legend Bill Hayward
. Bowerman graduated with a business administration degree in 1934.
After graduation, Bowerman accepted high school coaching jobs in Portland
and Medford before returning to his alma mater in 1948 to take over the track program from the retiring Bill Hayward.
Between 1948 and 1973, Bowerman coached Kenny Moore
, Bill Dellinger
, Mac Wilkins
, and a young Steve Prefontaine
. He guided the Oregon Ducks
to four NCAA
team titles, trained 31 Olympians, 51 All-Americans and 24 individual NCAA champions.
Bowerman coached the 1972 United States Olympic
team in Munich
. He was replaced as head coach at Oregon by one of his former students, Bill Dellinger.
During a trip to New Zealand
in 1962 with the University of Oregon's four-mile relay team, Bowerman became an advocate for jogging after he took part in a jogging club organized by his friend and coaching colleague Arthur Lydiard
. Bowerman returned to the USA and co-authored with heart specialist Waldo Harris a small 20-page pamphlet entitled Jogging
. Short and to the point, the book sold over a million copies and was credited with igniting the jogging phenomenon in the USA.
In 1964, Bowerman entered into a handshake agreement with Phil Knight
, who had been a miler under him in the 1950s, to start an athletic footwear distribution company called Blue Ribbon Sports, later known as Nike, Inc.
. Knight managed the business end of the partnership, while Bowerman experimented with improvements in athletic footwear design.
Bowerman's design ideas led to the creation of the "Cortez" training shoe in 1967 (the comparable Adidas
model was dubbed the "Aztec" - in honor of the upcoming Olympic
games - which civilization was conquered at the hands of Hernán Cortés
), which quickly became a top-seller and remains one of Nike's most iconic footwear designs. Bowerman designed several Nike shoes, but is best known for ruining his wife's waffle iron in 1971, experimenting with the idea of using waffle-ironed rubber to create a new sole for footwear that would grip but be lightweight.
Bowerman's design inspiration led to the introduction of the so-called "Moon Shoe" in 1972, so named because the waffle tread was said to resemble the footprints left by astronauts on the moon. Further refinement resulted in the "Waffle Trainer" in 1974, which helped fuel the explosive growth of Blue Ribbon Sports/Nike.
Bowerman's obsession with shaving weight off his athletes' running shoes was legendary. He believed that custom-made shoes would weigh less on the feet of his runners and cut down on blister
s, as well as reduce the overall drag on their energy for every ounce he could remove from the shoe.
Today, the headquarters for Nike is located on Bowerman Drive in homage of the company's co-founder.
*http://libweb.uoregon.edu/speccoll/archives/bower.html Bowerman at the University of Oregon Archives
*http://running.syr.edu/column/19991227.html 1999 Article about Bowerman
*http://www.hickoksports.com/biograph/bowerman.shtml Bowerman at Hickoksports.comde:Bill Bowermanfr:Bill BowermanBowerman, BillBowerman, BillBowerman, BillBowerman, Bill