Q&A #11

Bill Dellinger

Records Held
World Record: 2 mi. - 8:50  (1959)
World Record: 3 mi. - 13:37  (1959)
American Record: 1,500 m - 3:41.50

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
After retiring, Dellinger was an assistant coach to Bill Bowerman for the Oregon Ducks track and field team. He became head coach after Bowerman's retirement in 1972.[1] In 25 years as coach, Dellinger won five NCAA titles, coached 108 All Americans, and had a 134-29 meet record. He was instrumental in the development and coaching of Oregon and American great distance star Steve Prefontaine in conjunction with coaching great Bill Bowerman. Dellinger also coached many post-collegians including Olympians Mary DeckerAlberto SalazarMatt Centrowitz, Don Clary, and many others.

William ("Bill") Solon Dellinger (born March 23, 1934 in Grants Pass, Oregon) was a three time Olympian. He won a bronze medal in the 5.000 meters at Tokyo in 1964.[1] He lettered in track at the University of Oregon in 1954, 1955, and 1956.

Dellinger joined his mentor Bill Bowerman as an inductee in the National Track and Field Hall of Fame in 2001.


Records set by Dellinger:[2]

  • 1956 American Record holder: 5000 meters 14:26.0
  • 1956 American Record holder: 5000 meters 14:25.5
  • 1956 American Record holder: 5000 meters 14:16.2
  • 1958 American Record holder: 1500 meters 3:41.5
  • 1959 American Record holder (indoors) 2 miles: 8:49.9
  • 1959 American Record holder (indoors) 3 miles: 13:37.0
  • 1959 World Record holder (indoors) 2 miles: 8:49.9
  • 1959 World Record holder (indoors) 3 miles: 13:37.0

Bill Dellinger

Photo of Bill Dellinger

Inducted: 2000, athlete

Born: March 23, 1934 - Grants Pass, Oregon

1,500 m - 3:41.50
2 mi. - 8:44
5,000 m - 13:49.80

Bill Dellinger was one of the greatest athlete-coaches ever produced by the state of Oregon. Though he knew little about running when he enrolled at the University of Oregon, he learned quickly under the tutelage of Hall of Fame coach Bill Bowerman. He became the first sophomore at Oregon to win the NCAA mile in 1954 and went on to win every collegiate cross-country race. In 1956, Dellinger lowered the American 5000m record three times and won the event at both the NCAAs and Olympic Trials. As a member of the Air Force in 1958, he set an American record of 3:41.5 in Budapest, Hungary. The following year, he won the 5000 meters at the Pan American Games as well as the AAU national indoor 3 mile run and the first of two consecutive AAU outdoor 5000 meters. He also set world indoor records of 8:49.9 for 2 miles and 13:37.0 for 3 miles. He made the U.S. Olympic team three times in the 5000 meters, winning a bronze medal in 1964 behind fellow American Bob Schul and France's Michel Jazy. After coaching in high school and junior college, he returned to Oregon in 1966 as cross country coach and became head track coach in 1973. Under his coaching, the Oregon Ducks won the 1984 NCAA outdoor track title and four NCAA cross country championships. Among the athletes he coached were Steve Prefontaine, Alberto Salazar, Rudy Chapa and Joaquin Cruz. He returned to the Olympics in 1984 as an assistant coach. He retired at the end of the 1998 cross country season but continued coaching in a consulting capacity. After suffering a stroke in 2000, he underwent rehabilitation and resumed coaching.

Records Held
World Record: 2 mi. - 8:50
World Record: 3 mi. - 13:37
American Record: 1,500 m - 3:41.50

1956 Olympics: 5,000 m
1960 Olympics: 5,000 m
1964 Olympics: 5,000 m - 13:49.80 (3rd)
1959 AAU Indoor: 3 mi. (1st)
1959 AAU Outdoor: 5,000 m (1st)
1960 AAU Outdoor: 5,000 m (1st)
1959 Pan Am Games: 5,000 m (1st)
1954 NCAA: 1 mi. (1st)
1956 NCAA: 5,000 m (1st)

high school: Springfield (Springfield, Oregon), 1952
undergraduate: Oregon (Eugene, Oregon), 1956