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Bill Dellinger

Photo of Bill Dellinger

Inducted: 2000, athlete

Born: March 23, 1934 - Grants Pass, Oregon

Events
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

Championships
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)

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

Occupations
Coach

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