Friday, June 5, 2015

V5 N. 53 Roy and George's Excellent Adventure Part 2


This second part of our series on the Pre Classic weekend (also known as Roy and George's Excellent Adventure) takes us to the home of Bill Dellinger, former University of Oregon runner, coach, Olympic team member 1956, 60 and 64, and bronze medalist in the 5,000 meters in 1964.    We were invited to go along on a visit with one of Bill's former runners John Truax and Rick Lower, my former Human Performance Lab grad student friend at Ball State University.  Rick has worked solely for Nike since leaving the Lab and has been responsible for many projects over the years including opening the factory in China in the 1980's.  

Bill lives on the hill just on the east side of Eugene.   His home is a furlong from where Steve Prefontaine left this world on May 30, 1975.  

Twelve years ago, Bill suffered a crippling stroke that left him paralyzed on his right side, but he has worked hard to get back to where he is capable of moving on his own, talking and  carrying on a conversation and joking with his visitors.  He seemed to be surrounded by friends and caregivers and happy to have even more guests.  There was a keg of beer in a refrigerated cooler in the hall as you walked in the door, and the suds were flowing.  His home is a shrine to track and field and his awards and plaques, too numerous to count, line the walls of several rooms.  The only thing missing is the bronze Olympic medal which hangs somewhere on the campus.   He graciously let us go through a scrapbook and take pictures of the articles and the wall hangings.   And he didn't mind filling in the details about pictures when we asked.   This hour in his presence far outdistanced the great track meet we were about to see.  The nature and subject matter of this blog is for the reader who remembers or wants to know about those days 50 years ago, and so we will focus more of our attention on showing you what we saw and heard in the presence of this track icon.    Please enjoy these looks back into the past.   They are in no particular order time wise.


Feb. 14, 1959  Bill Dellinger being congratulated by Horace Ashenfelter and Greg Rice after winning the NYAC indoor two mile in 8;59.8 at Madison Sq. Garden

Here's one I bet you've never seen.  Lon Spurrier,  Bill,  Jim Bailey, Bill's Aussie teammate at Oregon and the first man to run a sub 4:00 mile on American soil.  Ron Delaney, 1956 1500 gold medalist.  The lady?  Deborah Kerr, actress in The King and I, From Here to Eternity and many other films.

1953? Oregon team.  Bill Dellinger (second from left) , Coach Bill Bowerman with the hardware, Bill Bailey (third from left)

Publicity photo of Dellinger and Bailey warming up on a Spring afternoon

Track aces had to work in the summer.  Here Dellinger at Willamalane pool,  Springfield, OR?

Post Race foot maintenance.  Bowerman probably starting to think there must be something better than these
Adidas clodhoppers.

Evidence of a Big Ten vs. PCC track meet held in Evanston, IL and a notice that soph. Dellinger
would be speaking at the next Springfield , OR Lions Club meeting.  Springfield, just a few miles
outside Eugene is Dellinger's hometown.

Artwork from Bill's coaching days

Someone's rendition of a photo taken when Bill was leading the Tokyo 5000 ahead of Keino, Schul , and Norpoth

One of many plaques in the house


Probably a retirement poster 1998

Alberto Salazar, Terry Williams (Lompoc HS, CA '73), Rudy Chapa
probably after PAC 8 Meet
thanks to Dan Martinez for this info

Pre ,  his freshman year at Van Courtlandt Park
again thanks to Dan Martinez for clarification

1978 NCAA cross country nationals at Madison WI. Thom Hunt, Arizona, Rudy Chapa, Mark Hunter, Cleveland St., Alberto Salazar,  Michael Musyoki, UTEP.  Salazar would go on to win.    Driving up to see this meet the Sunday before, I
remember listening to the breaking news of the Jonestown Massacre in Guyana.

Ron Francis,  San Francisco 49ers, threw the javelin for the Ducks, but Bill
kicked him off the team for not coming to practice.


Roy , Bill, and George

Dellinger and Bowerman

One of Bill's first teams at Oregon

How better to celebrate?


End of Part 2  (More to Come)

3 comments:

Richard Trace said...

Deborah Kerr looks smitten with Delaney.

Izaaknimrod.blogspot.com said...

Thanks for the memories of a great man, athlete, and coach. I had the pleasure of running (behind) Bill while a cadet at the Air Force Academy. While I was at SC Max Truex told me an anecdote about Bill and Bill's next-day race following his wedding--if memory serves me correctly, Bill set a record!
John Fer
SC and Air Force Academy

Anonymous said...

FYI...
“Salazar and Rudy Chapa flanking Don Clary ?”
Freshman, Salazar & Chapa flank senior Terry Williams (Lompoc HS, CA “73)- My guess - it’s a photo after the Pac 8 race...

“Pre probably his sophmore year, but not sure if this is at Van Courtlandt Park or elsewhere.”
Positively Freshman Pre at NCAA CC at Van Cortlandt / Pre wore # 431 in that race.......

running shots