People Who Kick Buts: Bill Bowerman
There is no such thing as bad weather, just soft people.
- Born on February 19, 1911 and passed away on December 24, 1999.
- Over his career, he trained 31 Olympic athletes, 51 All-Americans, 12 American record-holders, 24 NCAA champions and 16 sub-4 minute milers.
- During his 24 years as coach at the University of Oregon, the Ducks 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.
- Bill Bowerman was born in Portland, Oregon. His father was former Governor of Oregon Jay Bowerman.
- In 1929, Bowerman attended the University of Oregon to play football and study journalism. He was a member of Beta Theta Pi Fraternity. After graduating he taught biology and coached football at Franklin High School in Portland in 1934. In 1935, Bowerman moved back to Medford to teach and coach football.
- Bowerman joined the United States Army as a 2nd Lieutenant in the days following the Pearl Harbor attack.
- During a trip to New Zealand in 1962, Bowerman was introduced to the concept of jogging as a fitness routine through a jogging club organized by his friend and coaching colleague Arthur Lydiard.
Bowerman brought this concept back to the United States, and began to write articles and books about jogging. He also created a jogging program in Eugene that became a national model for fitness programs.
- 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.
- Bowerman was obsessed with shaving weight off his athletes’ running shoes. He believed that custom-made shoes would weigh less on the feet of his runners and cut down on blisters, as well as reduce the overall drag on their energy for every ounce he could remove from the shoe.
- Bowerman died in his sleep at his home in Fossil, Oregon at the age of 88 on Christmas Eve, 1999.