June 7, 2016
By Rob Moseley
EUGENE, Ore. – Oregon track and field’s deep ties to the decade of the Sixties and its progressive movement will be celebrated when the Ducks hit the track for the NCAA Outdoor championships later this week.
UO competitors will be adorned in tie-dye uniforms featuring silhouettes of legendary Oregon coach Bill Bowermen and peerless Ducks distance runner Steve Prefontaine. The uniforms include Nike’s “AeroBlade” technology that reduces wind resistance, and are the same model that will be worn by the United States team in Rio in August.
The NCAA Outdoor meet begins Wednesday at Hayward Field with men’s competition, including five field event finals, the 10,000-meter final, the first day of the decathlon and preliminaries on the track. The decathlon wraps up Thursday, which features the women’s preliminaries along with six event finals.
The men’s competition wraps up Friday, and the women’s meet concludes Saturday. The Ducks swept the team titles in the 2015 NCAA Outdoor meet, and are projected to be in the thick of the races again this week.
The Sixties were a seminal time for UO track and field. Bowerman coached the “Men of Oregon” to NCAA titles in 1962, 1964 and 1965. In 1964, he co-founded the company that would become Nike with one of this distance runners, Phil Knight. Later that decade, Bowerman helped popularize jogging among the general public in the U.S.
In 1967, the UO football program moved from Hayward Field to Autzen Stadium, leaving Oregon’s track and field programs as the lone tenants of what has become one of the sport’s cathedrals. And in the fall of 1969, Prefontaine enrolled at the university, for which he would win seven individual NCAA Championships over this four years.