Bill Bowerman Coaches Varsity Football in Medford

Feb 29, 2016

Back in the days when a bridegroom was expected to have at least $1,000 in the bank and a job that paid $100 a month, Bill Bowerman was coaching at Franklin High in Portland in l934.  He loved Barbara in Los Angeles, but he was earning only $80 a month and saving for medical school.

Bowerman would become a famous University of Oregon track and field coach, train 31 Olympic athletes, and co-found the Nike footwear company. 

Medford School Superintendent Ercel Hedrick remembered him as a star football player, and offered him a job coaching football at Medford High.  Bowerman said Hedrick told him, in these words, “You’re a Medford product.  You know how I like to run my schools.  I know in Portland you get paid $1,000 for the year.  We pay $1,500.  We hire people a year at a time.  You may change your mind and stay after a year.  Think that over and let me know tomorrow.”

Bowerman proposed to Barbara, moved to Medford, taught history, and as a 24-year-old coached his first season of varsity football.

The Bowermans married a year later.


Source: Moore, Kenny. Bowerman and the Men of Oregon; The story of Oregon’s Legendary Coach and Nike’s Co-founder.  Rodale Press, Inc., 2006. Print.