Bill Hayward

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This article is about the track and field coach. For the rugby union player, see Bill Hayward (rugby union). For other people, see William Hayward.
Bill Hayward
Sport(s) Track and field
Biographical details
Born July 2, 1868
Detroit, Michigan
Died December 14, 1947(1947-12-14) (aged 79)
Eugene, Oregon
Coaching career (HC unless noted)
Pacific University
Albany College

William Louis "Colonel Bill" Hayward (July 2, 1868 – December 14, 1947) was a track and field coach for the University of Oregon for 44 years, and a coach for six United States Olympics teams.

Athletic career[edit]

Hayward was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1868, but grew up in Toronto.[1][2] An all-around athlete likened to Jim Thorpe, Hayward excelled at ice hockey, rowing, wrestling, boxing, and played lacrosse on one of the Ottawa Capitals' world championship teams of the 1890s.[1] Hayward was also renowned as one of Canada's fastest sprinters, running distances from 75 to 600 yards.[1][2]

Early coaching career[edit]

Hayward's first coaching job was as an assistant track coach first at Princeton University in 1898, and then at California. In 1901, he moved to Oregon, becoming the head track coach at Pacific University in Forest Grove, where he trained future Olympic gold medalist A. C. Gilbert and coached the Boxers to the state collegiate track championship.[3]

In 1903, he took the head job at Albany College (now Lewis & Clark College), where his track team defeated the University of Oregon.[1] Oregon promptly hired him as their first permanent track coach the next year.[4]

Oregon and Olympic career[edit]

As head coach of the Oregon Ducks track and field team, Hayward (who was known as "Colonel Bill" due to his gruff demeanor) built Oregon's track program into one of regional dominance and national prominence over his 44 years as coach. In all, he coached four track world record holders, six American record holders and nine Olympians.[1] Notable Oregon athletes trained by Hayward include:

In addition to his track coaching duties, Hayward served as the athletic trainer for Oregon's football team, where he was known for inventing knee braces and other equipment for the players.[2] He also coached Oregon's men's basketball team from 1903 to 1913 and again in 1917-1918, compiling an overall record of 34-29.

In 1912, Hayward was selected as a coach for the United States team at the 1912 Summer Olympics in Stockholm, Sweden, the first of a string of six Olympics games in which he coached.

Hayward Field[edit]

Prior to 1921, Hayward's athletes trained at Kincaid Field, which was also the site of Oregon's football field. The field was upgraded several times to accommodate the needs of the growing track and field program, but by 1912, plans for a new facility were made.[5] In 1919, a new football field was built and named Hayward Field in Coach Hayward's honor, though it would be two more years before track and field facilities were installed.[5] In 1967, the opening of Autzen Stadium for football gave the track and field team exclusive use of Hayward Field.

Death and legacy[edit]

William L. Hayward Gravestone at Rest-Haven
Bill Hayward's Grave Marker at Rest-Haven Cemetery

Hayward retired from coaching in the fall of 1947. He was hospitalized a few months later after being stricken with a heart ailment, and died in the hospital on December 14, 1947.[6] Hayward was buried at Rest-Haven Cemetery in Eugene, OR.[7]

John A. Warren succeeded Hayward for the 1947–48 Oregon school year, giving way to Bill Bowerman, who became Oregon's head track coach in 1948.

Hayward was an inaugural inductee to both the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1980[8] and the University of Oregon Athletic Hall of Fame in 1992.[4] In 2005, he was inducted into the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association Hall of Fame.[9] The Bill Hayward Amateur Athlete of Year Award is given annually to the best amateur athlete in the state of Oregon.


  1. ^ a b c d e "Oregon Track Coaching Legends". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  2. ^ a b c Bellamy, Ron (November 30, 2005). "Record books alone can't tell track's story". The (Eugene) Register-Guard. Retrieved 2007-09-20. [dead link]
  3. ^ "Four Athletes And Coach Inducted Into Hall of Fame". Pacific University. Archived from the original on 12 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  4. ^ a b "Bill Hayward". Retrieved 2007-09-20. 
  5. ^ a b "About Hayward Field". Retrieved 2007-09-21. 
  6. ^ "Death Takes Bill Hayward". Los Angeles Times. December 15, 1947. p. A11. 
  7. ^ "Funeral Rites Set for Coach". Eugene Register-Guard. December 17, 1947. p. 13. 
  8. ^ "Hall of Fame Roll of Honor Members". Oregon Sports Hall of Fame and Museum. Retrieved February 23, 2010. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Bill Hayward". U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. Retrieved 2007-09-21.