Here in Eugene Bill Bowerman, his legacy as the University of Oregon’s Track & Field head coach from 1949-72, and his cofounding of global giant NIKE are legendary. As a tribute to this influential figure, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), with the help of now architect and former Oregon track athlete, Tinker Hatfield, designed and created a stunning, one-of-a-kind trophy that embodies the spirit of Bill Bowerman. Awarded each year to the top male and female collegiate athlete in track & field, this new and marvelous award is appropriately called ”The Bowerman.”
Each month during the Cross Country and Track & Field season (December 1st – NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships) a watch list of 10 student-athletes that cites and keeps an eye on those being considered for this illustrious award is created. This month two Ducks have made their way onto this watch list; sprinter English Gardner for the women, along with Mike Berry, who climbed into the “also receiving mention” category for the men. If Berry is voted as this year’s recipient of “The Bowerman,” he will be the third Oregon male athlete to win since its inception in 2009 (the last one being Ashton Eaton in 2010). Gardner, on the other hand, has a shot to be the first Oregon woman to ever receive this incredible honor.
Regardless of what happens, this trophy, from its name to its actual inception, is well-rooted in a Eugene tradition and culture of athletic excellence that is uniquely Oregon.