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 in the 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.
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,