Bill Bowerman: Co-Founder Of Nike

While the business circuit was getting the hang of entrepreneurship, this man was way ahead. A great athlete, a war hero, and a coach—Bill Bowerman a man of the ages. His contributions were pivotal in the sports industry’s progression. Bill Bowerman is a perfect idol for aspiring entrepreneurs who want to get ahead of the race.

Bill Bowerman had a Net Worth of $400 Million, when he passed away on December 24, 1999

Bill Bowerman - Biography

Name Bill Bowerman
Born Feb 19, 1991
Birth Place Portland, Oregon, U.S
Died Dec 24, 1999 (Aged 88)
Net Worth $400 Million (1999)
Known for Co-Founder, Nike
Education Medford and Seattle schools, University of Oregon
Spouse Barbara Young Bowerman
Children Jon Bowerman, William J. "Jay" Bowerman, Jr. Thomas Bowerman
Parent Jay Bowerman

Bill Bowerman Education & Sporting Feats
Bill Bowerman - Nike & History
Bill Bowerman - The First Nike Shoes
Bill Bowerman - Designs And Partnerships
Bill Bowerman - Legacy
Nike Net Worth 2020
Nike - Owner | Top Individual Insider Shareholder
Nike - Brand that Rules the Sports Segment

Bill Bowerman Education & Sporting Feats

While studying at the University of Oregon, Bowerman played football and through the recommendation of longtime track coach Bill Hayward, he joined the track team. He led Medford to a state title win in the year 1935. Bill was associated with the United States Olympic Track Programme where he trained athletes in high altitude environments. His running program in Eugene was later on recognized as a national model for fitness programs. Apart from being a coach and a war hero, he published a book titled ‘Jogging’; million copies of this book were sold in that era.


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Bill Bowerman - Nike & History

Nike Logo
Nike Logo

The above-mentioned qualities don’t completely define Bowerman as his entrepreneurship skills are equally commendable, if not more. He co-founded the company which athletes like Rafael Nadal, Serena Williams, Tiger Woods, and Anderson Silva wear on their sleeves—Nike, one of the biggest brands in the sports industry. Founded in 1964 through co-operation with his student Phil Knight, it was initially known as Blue Ribbon Sports and provided sports equipment for the brand now called ASICS.

There sits an old iron waffle at Nike’s main headquarters in Beaverton. This waffle signifies the steppingstone of the billion-dollar athletic empire. Bowerman’s willingness to create a better atmosphere for sportsmen along with his student Phil Knight’s dedication was the motive behind Nike. Although Knight was not the best runner, Bowerman chose Knight for testing out their products. Knight was Bowerman’s guinea pig, not in the wrong sense. Light and comfortable equipment is what any sportsperson seeks. In order to create comfortable shoes, Bowerman used rattlesnake’s skin, kangaroo’s skin, and even crap skin to make the shoes lighter. Bowerman even used different types of metals and plastics to create spikes for those shoes.

A 40 year old Nike internal memo penned by its first marketing head Rob Strasser titled “Principles"

Bill Bowerman - The First Nike Shoes

Bowerman unveiled Nike during the 1972 U.S. Olympic Trials. The first shoes were called Nike “Moon Shoe”. The swoosh logo Nike is known by was made by a college student for just 35 dollars. A great entrepreneur is the one who finds inspiration from everywhere. In an era when startups weren’t a craze like they are today, Bowerman thought of one by seeking ideas from nature and people. The waffle iron is a testimony to Bill Bowerman’s eagerness to learn. He asked his wife to come up with an idea for the pattern on the soles. ‘turning the waffles upside down where the waffle part would come in contact with the track on which the athletes ran’ is what his wife recommended him to work on. He later went to his lab, prepared urethane and poured them into the waffle iron. In excitement, he forgot to spray the nonstick substance and when he was unable to open it, he went on to find new waffle irons.


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Bill Bowerman - Designs And Partnerships

Nike Cortez, designed for runners at the 1972 Olympic Trials became a top seller and stills hold its place as one of the most iconic Nike shoes to date. Imagination prompted Bowerman to his show unique ideas. After running through his wife’s marriage gifts, he got the idea for “Waffle Trainer” in 1974. This enabled Nike to become a household name. If we talk about ownership, Bowerman wasn’t too involved in claiming rights. Initially having a 50-50 partnership in the brand, he later changed it to 51-49 with his student Knight having the greater share. The main reason behind this was to avoid a potential logjam between the two.

Bill Bowerman - Legacy

Bowerman was an inquisitive entrepreneur. While redesigning the shoes, he worked in a small room with no proper ventilation. The glue and toxic chemicals hindered his health and gradually damaged his nerves. This prevented him to run in the shoes he gifted the world. He gained respect from fellow co-owner of Nike and student, Knight. Knight quoted, “If the coach isn’t happy, Nike isn’t happy.”


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Nike Net Worth 2020

Nike which Bill Bowerman co-founded with just 1200 USD is now worth 29.6 billion USD. A clear vision and willingness to draw inspiration from everything put Bowerman into the list of one of the best entrepreneurs the world has seen. ‘Just do it’, the tagline of the mega-brand, was inspired by none other than serial killer Gary Gilmore who said “Let’s do it” moments before his execution. Talk about taking notes, utilizing resources and catchphrases, Nike is the best in business.

Nike - Owner | Top Individual Insider Shareholder

Philip Knight

As of April 2020, Philip Knight directly owns 29,154,487 shares of Class A and 11,385,687 shares of Class B Nike stock, i.e. 9.3% of outstanding Class A shares and 0.9% of outstanding Class B shares. He owns 2.6% of all outstanding shares as of April 2020. Knight co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports, later renamed to Nike, with Bill Bowerman. He and his family are ranked 25th on the Forbes list of billionaires, with a net worth of $39.3 billion

Nike - Brand that Rules the Sports Segment

Nike AirForce, Nike Phantom, Nike Zoom Heritage, and Air Jordan are products that everyone—right from ordinary people to celebrities and superstars—adore and endorse. With quality products and equipment, Nike is one of the most sought-after sporting brands. The fact that over 3900 employees undertake the job of teaching children, that too in a professional capacity, demonstrates the company’s vision for the betterment of the society. With continued dominance even though decades have passed since its inception, Nike won’t go anywhere soon!

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