30 Inspiring Bill Bowerman Quotes from Co-founder of Nike

Bill Bowerman, born in Portland, Oregon, was an innovative figure in athletics, first establishing himself as a prominent track and field coach at the University of Oregon.

During his 24-year tenure, he guided the team to four NCAA Championships and mentored numerous All-Americans and Olympians.

Beyond coaching, Bowerman introduced training innovations adopted by the U.S. Olympic Committee and played a pivotal role in establishing Eugene as “Tracktown, U.S.A.”

Bill Bowerman

He also co-founded Nike, innovating the iconic waffle shoe design.

Though he passed away in 1999, Bowerman’s dedication to athletics, community and innovation left an enduring legacy in the sports world.

Below are some of the greatest quotes by Bill Bowerman.

Top 5 Bill Bowerman Quotes


Don’t give anything away. Never make it easy for the guys you are trying to beat. ~ Bill Bowerman.


There is no bad weather, just soft runners. ~ Bill Bowerman.


It’s easier to beg forgiveness than ask permission. ~ Bill Bowerman.


The real purpose of running isn’t to win a race, it’s to test the limits of the human heart. ~ Bill Bowerman.


God determines how fast you’re going to run; I can help only with the mechanics. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Best Bill Bowerman Quotes

I still bother with runners I call hamburgers. They’re never going to run any record times. But they can fulfill their own potential. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Your insistence that you have no talent is the ultimate vanity. If you have no talent, you have no limits. It’s all an act of will. ~ Bill Bowerman.


You don’t run at the mouth, you run on the track. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Men of Oregon, I invite you to become students of your events. Running, one might say, is basically an absurd past-time upon which to be exhausting ourselves. But if you can find meaning, in the kind of running you have to do to stay on this team, chances are you will be able to find meaning in another absurd past-time: life. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Inspiring Bill Bowerman Quotes


That’s all training is. Stress. Recover. Improve. You’d think any damn fool could do it. ~ Bill Bowerman.

We should always strive to be our best and to believe in ourselves, even if we don’t always achieve our immediate goal. The importance is in the process and our motives. ~ Bill Bowerman.

There are few things that can compare to being young and healthy and a part of a team that you want to be on, and doing well – as well as you could – and being proud. ~ Bill Bowerman.


If you have a body, you are an athlete! ~ Bill Bowerman.

We should treat ourselves and others with the utmost care, meaning, ‘We believe!’ The alternative is costly to our health, to what we can achieve, and to what the world will miss. Personal values, sports training and business… believing isn’t relegated to any sector! ~ Bill Bowerman.

There’s no such thing as bad weather, just soft people. ~ Bill Bowerman.


If at the end of a race you know yourself that you have done your best, you’re a winner. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Motivational Bill Bowerman Quotes

Now to explore the limits of the one competitor above everyone else you’ve always loved to face: Steve Prefontaine. ~ Bill Bowerman.


Victory is in having done your best. If you’ve done your best, you’ve won. ~ Bill Bowerman.

As I have said in the past, one of the reasons that I love running so much is that I am learning something all of the time and many of the lessons that I learn are not just applicable to running but to life itself. And reading the philosophies and theories of the past great running coaches, I get to learn both about running and life. ~ Bill Bowerman.

I think people can handle 150 to 200 miles a week. But something has to give somewhere. If he’s a student, how’s he going to study? He may be at the age of chasing and courtship, and that’s an important form of sport and recreation, too. ~ Bill Bowerman.


To bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world. ~ Bill Bowerman.

This killing of Israel athletes is an act of war. And if there’s one place that war doesn’t belong, it’s here. 1200 years. From 776 B.C. to 393 A.D., your fellow Olympians laid down their arms to take part in these games. They understood there was more honor in out running a man than in killing him. I hope the competition will resume, and if it does, you must not think that running or throwing or jumping is frivolous. The games were once your fellow Olympians answer to war – competition, not conquest. Now, they must be your answer. ~ Bill Bowerman.


Everything you need is already inside. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Several of my critics have said, ‘Bowerman just tacks up a piece of paper in the locker room and turns his runners loose.’ They’re partially right. I do give the athletes a relatively free rein and for good reason. One of my principles is? ‘Don’t overcoach.’ ~ Bill Bowerman.

A teacher is never too smart to learn from his pupils. But while runners differ, basic principles never change. So it’s a matter of fitting your current practices to fit the event and the individual. See, what’s good for you might not be worth a darn for the next guy. ~ Bill Bowerman.

Inspirational Bill Bowerman Quotes

Citius. Altius. Fortius. It means Faster. Higher. Stronger. It’s been the motto for the Olympics for the last 2,500 years. But it doesn’t mean faster, higher and stronger than who you are competing against. Just Faster. Higher. Stronger. ~ Bill Bowerman.


A teacher is never too smart to learn from his pupils. ~ Bill Bowerman.

The idea that the harder you work, the better you’re going to be is just garbage. The greatest improvement is made by the man or woman who works most intelligently. ~ Bill Bowerman.

The athlete makes himself, the coach doesn’t make the athlete. ~ Bill Bowerman.

If someone says, ‘Hey, I ran 100 miles this week. How far did you run?’ ignore him! What the hell difference does it make?…. The magic is in the man, not the 100 miles. ~ Bill Bowerman.

So these were the 30 top quotes about Bill Bowerman.

If you like these quotes and sayings, then you can also read my other posts on Katie Ledecky quotes and Inky Johnson quotes.

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Chandan Negi
Chandan Negi

I’m the Founder of Internet Pillar - I love sharing quotes and motivational content to inspire and motivate people - #quotes #motivation #internetpillar