Bowerman and the men of Oregon : the story of Oregon's legendary coach and Nike's cofounder

by Kenny Moore

Hardcover, 2006




[Emmaus, Pa.] : Rodale : Distributed to the book trade by Holtzbrinck Publishers, c2006.


Bowerman and the Men of Oregon No man has affected more runners in more ways than Bill Bowerman. During his 24-year tenure as track coach at the University of Oregon, he won four national team titles and his athletes set 13 world and 22 American records. He also ignited the jogging boom, invented the waffle-sole running shoe that helped establish Nike, and coached the US track and field team at the 1972 Munich Olympic Games With the full cooperation of the Bowerman family and Nike, plus years of taped interviews with friends, relatives, students, and competitors, two-time Olympic marathoner Kenny Moore - himself one of Bowerman's champion athletes - brilliantly re-creates the legendary track coach's life.

User reviews

LibraryThing member KevinJoseph
Well-written and researched, this biography paints virtually every facet of Bill Bowerman's life and character across a canvas as broad as the Western skyline. From Bill's adventurous ancestors' settlement in Oregon, to his fatherless upbringing, to his high school sports and military successes, to his coaching, and finally to his entrepreneurial undertakings as a Nike founder, the narrative progresses in a logical, well-organized fashion. Even knowing that Kenny Moore, as one of Bill's unwavering supporters over the years, must have skewed this character study a bit toward the positive, I turned the last page convinced that Bill Bowerman was a multi-talented man of high principle and inquisitive Promethean temperament, who left the sport much better than he found it.

Moore is at his finest when describing training techniques and track performances and when discussing, from his insider's vantage point, Bill's early running shoe prototypes and his relationships with the many talented athletes who ran at Oregon. As a fourth-place Olympic finisher in the same Munich Games where Pre faltered down the home stretch, Moore also did a wonderful job of illustrating how an untimely illness, a poor race plan, or other unfortunate circumstances denied many great champions the elusive Olympic medals by which athletic success is too often measured.

Some of the material is slow-going and somewhat dense in factual detail, however, and a disciplined editor could probably have pared it down by fifty pages or more. In particular, I wished that less text was spent on Bill's ancestors and family, his involvement in World War II and the struggles with Track & Field's governing bodies. That said, I can understand why Moore might have felt compelled to err on the side of over-inclusion when taking on the weighty responsibility of memorializing the life of his beloved coach.

-Kevin Joseph, author of "The Champion Maker"
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LibraryThing member kymarlee
Excellent biography of a complex man who not only coached Olympic track champions at the University of Oregon, but also helped one of his runners, Phil Knight, found the sports giant Nike. Traces his life from hard scrabble roots during the Great Depression, to college, WW II, through his coaching career at Oregon and the Olympics and his role in founding NIKE.

Written by one of his former athletes, sports writer Kenny Moore, Moore tries to separate fact and myth about the man and for the most part succeeds. Good overall narrative, but for the general reader the book bogs down in middle with too much detail about specific track races and times. A good editor might eliminated some of the details. Still a fascinating read!
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