Berny Wagner served as Oregon State University’s cross country and track & field coach from 1965-75. In 1972 he was voted USTCA Coach of the Year, and he was an assistant track coach for the 1976 U.S. Olympic Team.
Wagner attended Stanford University, earning BA (1948) and MA (1949) degrees in Education. Prior to his tenure at OSU, Wagner coached track and cross country at four California high schools from 1949 to 1962 and at the College of San Mateo (CA) from 1962 to 1965.
Taking over the reins of Oregon State’s cross country and track & field programs in 1965, Wagner’s tenure included standouts such as 1968 Olympic gold medal winner Dick Fosbury and All Americans Jim Barkley, Steve DeAutremont, Willie Turner, Tom Woods, Jim Judd, Hailu Ebba, and Ed Lipscomb.
In 1969, behind the talented high jump trio of Dick Fosbury, Steve Kelly, and John Radetich, Wagner’s squad went undefeated in dual meets, beating powerhouses UCLA and Oregon. The team finished third at the NCAA championship, behind individual champions Fosbury (high jump), Barkley (steeplechase), and DeAutremont (hammer throw).
Other positions that Wagner held during his career include working with Whitaker Corporation’s International Sports program in Saudi Arabia from 1976-78; serving as Executive Director of the Track & Field Association of the USA from 1978-81; and serving as National Coach/Coordinator of The Athletics Congress (forerunner to USATF) from 1981-89.
Wagner is retired, but he continues to work as a volunteer coach working with high jumpers at Western Oregon, where he has had three national champions and 15 All Americans. Wagner was inducted into the OSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 1993.