With the 2008 USA Track and Field Olympic Trials returning to Eugene, Oregon this next Summer there is no better time to reflect upon one of the greatest coaches to have graced Hayward Field. Bill Bowerman spent 24 years as head track coach at the University of Oregon (4 NCAA titles, 33 Olympians, 16 sub-four minute milers, and 64 All-Americans) yet he may be just as well known for his innovations in footwear, track surfaces, and training methods for the average jogger. Although maybe not intentioned, this production rides on the heals of Kenny Moore’s extensively researched and well written book, Bowerman and the Men of Oregon. Moore is just one of the former athletes interviewed, as well as co-workers, friends, and family members. The scope spans Bowerman’s family history , childhood (such as his twin dying at age 2), his own athletic pursuits, military service, coaching six State Championship teams at Medford High School, community involvement, some of his research into exercise, and numerous tales of antics that commonly follow an icon of his stature.
"I was a school teacher and an athletic coach. I think I was a good coach, but I was a good coach because I was a good teacher." ~ Bill Bowerman
"Everything we touched, everything we ate, everything we wore. Everything, even the women we loved, he wanted to improve." ~ Kenny Moore
"Don’t over train. In track and field I call it the ‘Hard/Easy Principle’ because if you work hard you have to rest, you have to recover." ~ Bill Bowerman
"He had the ability to tell you what you needed to work on to improve performance with the least amount of effort." ~Wade Bell
"If you have finished a race knowing that you have done your best, whatever it is, your a winner. That is what he tried to instill." ~ Barbara Bowerman
Bowerman was well known for the invention of the waffle sole and his involvement in the foundation of Nike. He also conducted community wide events and wrote his first book, Jogging, in 1967 that introduced the nation to the concept of fitness. If you want to bring this production into your own home, visit Shop.OPB.org to place an order. This 29 minute DVD was made with the cooperation of Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Oregon Historical Society as a segment of Oregon Experience Series. The writer, producer, and executive producer is Nadine Jelsing with Scott Simon providing the narration. Although Bill Bowerman died peacefully on December 24, 1999, at the age of 88, in his home town of Fossil, Oregon, his legacy continues. You can view this entire production online at OPB.Org.