Bill Hayward led the University of Oregon track & field and cross country programs for an amazing 44 years (1904-1947). He built the program into a nationally prominent force, and paved the way for the many accomplishments it has experienced since his departure.
The Toronto native was born in Detroit, Michigan and known throughout both countries as an all-around star athlete comparable to the likes of Jim Thorpe. A member of the Ottawa Capitals world champion lacrosse team, he also was one of Canada’s fastest sprinters from 75 yards up to 600 yards. He was equally regarded as a premier national-class athlete in ice hockey, rowing, wrestling, and boxing.
Hayward began his coaching career in 1898 as a Princeton assistant coach, and then made another assistant stop at California. He next served as the head track coach at Pacific University (1901) and Albany College (1903), with his Albany track team even beating Oregon. He took the Oregon head track job in 1904 and also served as athletic trainer and basketball coach.
Among his coaching accomplishments, Hayward was a coach on the U.S. Olympic teams from 1908-1932. He coached four track & field world record holders and nine Olympians, including former Oregon and U.S. Olympic coach and co-founder of Nike Bill Bowerman, also a USTFCCCA Hall of Famer. One of his pupils, Dan Kelly, broke the world record in the 100 yards (9.6) in 1906, set the 220-yard record (21.1), and took the silver medal in the broad jump in the 1908 Olympics.
Hayward Field, Oregon’s storied track & field venue, was built in 1919 as a tribute to this track & field legend. Hayward was an inaugural inductee to both the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1980 and the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.