tv Bill Bowerman Collection CSPAN June 4, 2017 2:29pm-2:42pm EDT
is really quite broad and deep. we eugene and believe that he supported power to the people. he questioned authority. he was one of the first people to advocate for the civil rights bill. we had a community college because of him. labor rights. antiwar piece. those defined eugene and very important ways, all of those issues. behind me jennifer: behind me is the hayward field, home to the university of oregon's track and field team as we continue to look at the city's unique history, we learn about bill bowerman, inventor and cofounder of nike, his connection to this
famous track and the impact on the running community. the fitness and running culture here is one that is very well known in that that culture of jogging, running, and fitness really began here, particularly in the 1960's and 1970's, and then with the creation of nike here, it became this mecca for people coming to both, and run here at the university, but also to be in this space, this place, and get a sense of why that is so important, what does that mean to be connected to a place that has such importance for fitness and running and health.
so bill bowerman one of the most well-known track coaches here at the university of oregon, known here locally, but nationally and internationally, as well as very well known as someone who started people following jogging, running, and often well known as one of the founders of nike. bowerman came to the university of oregon to coach football in 1947, but then in 1949, he began coaching track and field and he got into that based on his previous experience as both a football coach, athletic coach, athletic director at a high school, so he was very much involved with a variety of different sports, but his love was really with track and field, so he began that in 1949 and continued until 1972 as the head of track and field. so that is a large part of the collection, is both his actual records as a coach, his detailed
records of the track and field meets, the workouts he would do with his specific athletes, the recruiting he would do, and also a variety of other activities he was involved with, like attending olympics, being on olympic committees, so it really shows the breath and scope of his career as a track and field coach. so his early life of course he was involved with the community and developing his athletic career and coaching career, but what people may not realize is he also served in the military, so what we have out here are documents that really showcase his military career. he served in the military in the army from 1943-1945, and so we have some material here, like this is separation, qualification register, immunization register, and the honorable discharge, and in this letter when he is writing to the
colonel who he worked with at fort washington, he expresses it has been an opportunity and inspiration working under you. you gave me every opportunity to do the things i considered necessary to the program you wanted in your command. and also, interestingly enough, he said i wanted more than anything to surf with troops, and that is what this lieutenant provided for him, the opportunity he was great for come up for the chance to serve with the organization and felt
himself best qualified for, to serve with the organization, for the quarters you granted myself in the family, and for the privilege of serving under an officer and soldier, he expressed his thanks, and that was in january 1943, so again, this gives more insight into who he was personally, because he is most well known as being a track and field coach, football coach, but this is really where i think his love of service and love of country started as well. when bowerman took a group of his athletes to new zealand for a relay in 1962, one thing that he noticed right away when he was there is all of jogging that people were doing when he visited, and this was something i think caught him off guard because he was not used to that as many people jogging in eugene or other cities he visited, and in new zealand when he went there, it was very prevalent. one thing he also noticed his people a lot older than him even going a lot faster than even he was, so wanted to know why this was the case there and how he
could bring more awareness and have more people doing this in the u.s., or just generally, so he embarked on his own research along with a medical doctor, dr. harris, and over the course of numerous years and putting together a manuscript and doing their own research, they came up with this book, which is jogging, medically approved physical fitness program for all ages, which really goes in depth into the great benefits of jogging and also just how it can really help people and their health and fitness in becoming healthier, so not only did he do the manuscript with dr. harris, but also put together other smaller pamphlets, like this one here, and also these small wins here that on the back would give tips for joggers, everything from apparel, posture, diet,
for him to bring awareness about because then it was not well-known why you should be running or jogging, what did that term even mean? so even in the books, he would have certain definitions of what was meant by that, what do you mean by jogging, and it is meant to be slower than a run, but getting yourself and fitness, into health, it was a way to do that if you didn't want to become a runner and what were the benefits. bowerman first began doing development early on in his career. late 1950's, early 1960's when he was coaching a lot of his track and field athletes, he was noticing that a lot of his athletes were either not performing well or the shoes were not working correctly, so he began early on to do a lot of testing and investigative work into shoemaking and how could he actually create something that would be better for his athletes. and so it was not until the early 1960's when he actually began making his own shoes for his athletes, and he actually began meeting with it a shoe cobbler designer to ask him questions and kind of the basics into what goes into making a shoe and how he could do that for his athletes, with that help to make them run faster, do better in their races, so he actually started to do a lot of research into that, and so the amazing thing he was able to do is within his close relationship and training with athletes such as phil knight, they had a close relationship, and after even phil knight had graduated from
the university of oregon and was in grad school and had moved on, phil knight knew as his, bill bowerman's interest in shoes, so in the relationship together they created a partnership, sports, shoes, and from that eventually what became nike after that, but in the early days though and in one of the first times they were developing and creating shoes together in the early 1960's, these were some first letters that go into that. when they are talking about working with companies out of japan and creating their first batches of shoes, but really bowerman and phil knight where the cofounders of this initiative, of this first organization and very much entrepreneurs for this company, and really bowerman was the research and development side, so as you can see here, we have a variety of materials out that actually went into how he would develop a shoe, how he would investigate what it needed to look like, the size, the shape, so he would go into specific details. here is where he had actually taken x-rays of somebody's foot,
determining the marks where they would hit the ground and where there needs to be certain pressure points, how the shoe needed to be shaped, and he would do this for specific athletes to make a specific shoe just for them, so he was very hands on in developing the shape and the scope and what worked, what didn't, so he was really the one at the head of that development for all the research for the shoes. his presence and his legacy are very meaningful to this campus and are so well-known that he is revered really for the contributions not only he made as a coach, but also the relationships he had with his athletes, and then the contributions he made in general about jogging, just his impact on the community.
>> this provides a panoramic view of downtown eugene. the overlook is named after the city founder, eugene's again or. -- skinner. as we continue our look at the city's unique history, we will hear about its early pioneers. >> at the lane county historical museum, it started off as the lane county pioneer museum. since then, we have dropped the pioneer and talk about things up to and including the current day, but with a perspective on the past. eugene's part in oregon's story is a little more indirect, and it has to do with boosters and the way oregon settlement took place after the first wagon trains of 1943 and night -- 1843 and 1844. the free land was basically