William J. Bowerman

William J. Bowerman, Medford Sports Hall of FameBoth of Bill’s parents were born in Oregon of Oregon pioneers. As a true Oregonian, he climbed to the peaks of athletic fame both in Medford and at the University of Oregon as a player under the great Prink Callison. Coming back to Medford as a coach added a glowing chapter to the growing tradition both in football and track and field at Medford High. Records from the Medford Mail Tribune show 57 victories, 11 losses and nine ties for Bowerman’s football teams over the nine seasons in which he served as Medford head coach. His Black Tornado track teams were state champions three times and they won eight Hayward Relay meets.

His success at Medford led to his appointment, in 1948, as head track mentor at the University of Oregon where he enjoyed 23 successful seasons. In 14 of 19 years his Oregon clubs were in the top 1O in the NCAA meets.

Bill’s selection as head coach of the US. Olympic track team was a fitting reward for the contributions he has made to track and field over some 35 years of coaching. As a Portland sportswriter described it, “It’s the crowning touch to a long and distinguished career ”

As one of the original founders of the Nike running shoe, it is rumored that Bill used his wife’s waffle iron as a pattern in coming up with the Waffle-Soled running shoe that made Nike “takeoff”. (Perhaps Bill will clarity this for us tonight as he is Guest Speaker at our Medford Sports Hall of Fame banquet). Although Bill will always be busy in the athletic world, he is very happy now as a Cowboy Rancher.