The Nike Story

Posted By:  Liz Goodrich
Date Posted:  4/17/2007

Deschutes Public Library and the Deschutes Public Library Foundation are pleased to welcome three Nike historians of unequaled reputation for two programs as part of the A Novel Idea … Read Together community wide reading project. Geoff Hollister, Bob Woodell, and Nelson Farris will be presenting “The Nike Story,” at the Bend Public Library on Saturday, April 21 at 2 p.m. and on Sunday, April 22 at 2 p.m. at the Sisters Athletic Club in Sisters. Both presentations are free and open to the public, however seating is limited at both locations.

The Nike story began in 1962 when Phil Knight, with the help of track coach, Bill Bowerman, started Blue Ribbon Sports. The passion and drive of early employees, who sold shoes out of car trunks at track meets, transformed Blue Ribbon Sports into Nike, the world’s largest Sports and Fitness Company. Today, the humble beginnings of Nike are celebrated up and down the corporate ladder and according to Farris, Nike's director of corporate education and the company's chief storyteller, Nike has made understanding the heritage of the company a critical component of its corporate culture. “Our stories are not about extraordinary business plans or financial manipulations," says Farris, “They're about people getting things done." Woven into the tales told by Nelson are lessons current Nike employees, from top executives to cash register operators at retail locations, can learn from. Stories of Bowerman and his waffle iron inspire innovation while tales of Steve Prefontaine and his unabashed challenges to authority stimulate individuality and dedication to a goal.

During the presentation, Farris will be joined by two other Nike legends, Bob Woodell and Geoff Hollister. Hollister, the third employee for Blue Ribbon Sports and long-time Nike employee, ran the steeplechase at Oregon. He sold shoes from his car and worked with Steve Prefontaine who would become the first world class runner to wear Nike’s. Woodell, a U of O long jumper who was paralyzed during a college float building activity, became an early BRS employee and later was appointed Nike’s second CEO. Both Hollister and Woodell were coached by Bill Bowerman.

Now in its fourth year, “A Novel Idea...Read Together” has become the premier community reading program in Oregon. This month-long reading and discussion event is organized by the Deschutes Public Library and funded by the Deschutes Public Library Foundation with the support of other community sponsors. The purpose of the event is to build community by broadening and deepening appreciation of literature through reading, participation, and discussion.

The 2007 selected book, Bowerman and the Men of Oregon, describes the life of Bill Bowerman, the University of Oregon’s legendary track coach and co-founder of Nike. The book celebrates the spirit of Oregon through the life of this incredible man who faced life with genius, humor and grit. Author Kenny Moore, a former senior writer for Sports Illustrated and a world-class runner under Bowerman’s tutelage, delivers a fully realized portrait of Bowerman. More than 20 programs will highlight this year’s book, each of which is designed to enhance the participant’s knowledge of the book and the man whose legacy touched our lives in a variety of unexpected ways.

For a complete listing of Novel Idea programs, please call 312-1032.

Page Last Modified Wednesday, March 8, 2023