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JPR Feature
Bill Bowerman and the Nike Corp.   
Friday June 24, 2005
By Dawna Curler

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

Sometimes attitude is everything. By his own admission, Bill was "a mean little kid" and a cut-up. But during high school he changed his attitude, found direction, and applied himself. Later he made huge contributions to the sports world.

In 1927 Bill made the varsity team at Medford High School in Southern Oregon. For both his junior and senior years the team was undefeated. Bill got used to winning. After four years of football, basketball, and track as a student at the University of Oregon in Eugene, he became a coach, teaching his athletes to "play hard, play fair, but play to win."

Bill reinstated a track program at Medford High School while coaching nine seasons there. He developed world class track champions as University of Oregon track coach and coached the U.S. Olympic track team in 1972. He wrote a book about running for fun and fitness that inspired the modern jogging trend. Always looking to improve the performance of his runners, he began designing revolutionary new track shoes and, with partner Phil Knight, started his own athletic shoe company. 

Bill, was Bill Bowerman, co-founder of Nike, Incorporated. With a determined spirit and winning attitude, Bill "just did it!" 

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

Miller, Bill. "Bill Bowerman: No Second Place," Southern Oregon Heritage Today, Winter, 2004, Vol. 6, No. 1, pp.8-13; Stiles, Greg. "Bowerman among Medford's greats," Mail Tribune, September 28, 1999, online edition:;Nike website, the inside story, heritage players (story about Bill Bowerman),; website for National Distance Running Hall of Fame, Utica, NY, (story about Bill Bowerman),

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