Before there was Nike, there was Bill Bowerman, Nike's future co-founder. And before Bowerman there was Bill Hayward, the first track director at the University of Oregon. Hayward led Oregon athletics from 1904 to 1947. Named in his honor, the University's historic track & field venue has hosted three Olympic Trials, and a variety of national,NCAA, and Masters championships. A claim could be made that Hayward Field was Nike's unofficial birthplace.
Knight's first shipment of Tiger shoes arrives in December, 200 pairs in all.
Bill Bowerman - Olympian, Olympic coach, innovator and inspirational mentor - took over as head track coach at the University of Oregon in 1948, a job he held until 1973.
Knight and Bowerman join together inthe new enterprise, each contributing $500 to the partnership. Knight works for an accounting firm and in his spare time distributes the shoes from his father's basement, and out of the back of his car at local and regional track meets. Runners don BRS shoes -- many prototypes designed by Bowerman -- and provide feedback to the company on concepts for future footwear development.
The future co-founders of Nike meet at the University of Oregon in Eugene, America's running citadel. Bill Bowerman, already one of the top U.S. track coaches, and Phil Knight, a middle distance runner on Bowerman's track team, begin their relationship.
Jeff Johnson, a former track competitor of Phil Knight at Stanford, agrees to work on commission as BRS' first full-time employee.1966
Jeff Johnson opens the first BRS retail outlet in Santa Monica, Calif.
Phil Knight's research paper at Stanford asserts that low-priced, high-performance well-merchandised exports from Japan could replace Germany's domination of the U.S. athletic shoe industry. After receiving his MBA, Knight takes a world tour. Stopping in Japan, he contacts the Onitsuka Tiger company,manufacturers of quality athletic shoes, and convinces it of great marketing opportunities for its product in the U.S. Put on the spot to appear as though he owns a company, Knight makes up a company name, giving birth to "Blue Ribbon Sports," the forerunner of Nike.
Knight and Bowerman incorporate BRS, Inc., an Oregon corporation, as successor to their partnership known as Blue Ribbon Sports.BRS, Inc. (doing business as Blue Ribbon Sports) is the exclusive marketer, distributor, and seller of Onitsuka Tiger running shoes imported from Japan. The shoes are based on a foam cushion heel wedge design proposed by Bill Bowerman. Dec. 26, 1967
Jeff Johnson, Nike's first employee, makes his most enduring contribution to the company. While sleeping he dreams of Nike, theGreek goddess of victory -giving the company its new name. Nike won out over Knight's idea of calling the company "Dimension 6."
For a fee of $35, the Swoosh trademark is created by a graphic design student named Carolyn Davidson whom Phil Knight had met at Portland State University.
Bowerman begins experimenting with rubber spikes by pouring a liquid rubber compound into his wife'swaffle iron, creating a sole that forever changes the design of running shoes.
Knight resigns his position as Assistant Professor of Business Administration at Portland State University to devote himself full time to the company.
The first BRS West retail store was opened in Eugene, Oregon, by future veteran employee Geoff Hollister and future company president Bob Woodell.s
Frustrated with the inability to secure loans at local banks, Knight finds a new method of creative financing. Through the Bank of Tokyo, a trading company called Nissho Iwai introduces BRS to import letters of credit and lays the foundation for future rapid growth.
Steve Prefontaine dies in a car accident in Eugene, Oregon. At the...
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