As the University of Oregon slowly began to find its athletic identity in the early 1900s, the sport of track and field spent its inaugural decade struggling to gain consistency in all facets of the sport. With five coaching changes in nine years, the Webfoots lacked any clear direction. Still, the team found some success, capturing the title of "Champions of the Northwest" in 1900.
Despite this modest foothold, the Ducks did not gain substantial momentum until 1904 when Bill Hayward took over the head coaching duties. An experienced athlete and respected leader in the track and field arena, Hayward's true talent lay in his ability to bring out the best in athletes.
During his 44-year tenure at Oregon, Hayward not only molded the track and field team into a national power, but he also served as the athletic trainer and coached basketball. He guided countless individuals to success. He mentored four world-record holders, six American-record holders and nine Olympians. Hayward's most recognizable trainee was Bill Bowerman, who played football for the Ducks and later joined the track team after some convincing by Hayward.
In addition to his leadership at Oregon, Hayward also shared his knowledge internationally, playing various roles on the U.S. Olympic teams from 1908-1932.
A legend that will forever grace Oregon, Hayward was the grandfather of Oregon track and field. He is also the namesake of the world-renowned Hayward Field.