Hayward Field: Fun Facts & History
Did you know?
- According to the University of Oregon, Hayward Field, constructed in 1919, was originally set up to be a football field, not a track. It took another six years before the University of Oregon added a six-lane track around the outside of the field.
- The field is named after Oregon track coach Bill Hayward, who coached the Oregon team from 1904 - 1947.
- Famous runner Steve Prefontaine began his career at Hayward Field as an athlete for the University of Oregon Track & Field team, eventually competing in the 1972 Olympics.
- Although the track has eight lanes now, it didn’t always. Hayward initially had only six, but it was widened to eight in the summer of 1969. The surface of the track was also converted to a “pro-turf” material, creating a hard and fast surface. Many world records were set on this track, and it gained national acknowledgment as the “earth’s fastest track.”
- Hayward Field was featured in the classic National Lampoon film "Animal House," and was used as a set for the 1982 Olympics in the film Personal Best.
- Olympic gold medalist and world record holder Ashton Eaton also began his track career at Hayward as a freshman at the U of O.
Hayward and Nike
The multi-billion dollar athletic company, Nike, was started in the basement of Hayward Field by University of Oregon track coach Bill Bowerman, and (at the time) collegiate track athlete Phil Knight. Bowerman used a waffle iron to construct the first pair of Nike running shoes right underneath the field. The first shoe became known as the “Waffle Trainer” and was released for sale in 1974. Now, co-founder and chairman of Nike Phil Knight continues to give back to the university where his company began, donating millions of dollars to the restoration and creation of buildings on campus.
NCAA Track & Field Championships
Hayward has been the host of nine NCAA Track & Field Championships!
Olympic Team Trials
Numerous times, the Olympic Team Trials – Track & Field events have been hosted at the historic Hayward Field, most recently in 2008, 2012, and 2016. Famous Oregon athletes like Ashton Eaton and Devon Allen earned a place on the U.S. team at these trials.
Oregon21: IAAF Track & Field World Championships
For the first time in history, the United States will host the IAAF Track & Field Championships right here at Hayward Field. The honor was awarded to the state by the IAAF (International Association of Athletic Federations) Council back in 2015.