See in-depth articles on university sports history highlighted on the Special Collections and University Archive "Unbound" blog
The Documenting UO History Project aims to research, document, and disseminate major portions of the university's hidden history, especially underrepresented groups and individuals, by engaging students and faculty in the documentation process, developing a variety of resources for dissemination, and conducting outreach with alumni and students for donations of records, documents, and ephemera to add to the collection. If you're interested in participating or have items to donate, find out more information here.
Special Collections & University Archives holds a variety of materials that document the history of athletics at the University of Oregon. Below are are collections we suggest as a starting point for your research. Other resources are highlighted on either side of this page as well.
Leadership & Legacy: The History of Sports at the University of Oregon
This is a digital project that uses photographs, documents, and other primary source materials to tell the story of athletics at the University of Oregon. This site is currently being updated and expanded to highlight additional sports and timelines.
University Archives Athletics Photographs
Call number: UA Ref 3
The University Archives photographs collection includes thousands of photographs related to the history of athletics at the University of Oregon. Beyond the well-known sports such as track and field, football, and men’s basketball, there are also folders for other varsity teams in every sport. Researchers can find photographs from both men’s and women’s teams that have represented UO since the dawn of intercollegiate athletics on campus. There are historical photos of UO’s sports venues throughout the years, including defunct facilities such as Kincaid Field. There are also separate files featuring photographs of historic athletes from Ducks history including Steve Prefontaine, Dan Fouts, and Ahmad Rashad and coaches like Bill Hayward, Len Casanova, and Bill Bowerman. (Select photographs are also available through Oregon Digital Collections)
UO Sports Information and Media Guides
Call number: UA Ref 5 | Size: 33.0 linear feet (66 containers) | Dates: 1890s-2014 (inclusive)
This is the main reference collection within the University Archives from which to begin any inquiry into questions about intercollegiate athletics. The finding aid for this collection offers clear reference points by sport and by key subjects. Within the 66 boxes are contained media guides, brochures, game notes and programs, newsletters, and other memorabilia from various sports affiliated with the University of Oregon. In addition to information related to each varsity sports program, there is also documentation regarding sports facilities as well as conference affiliations over the years. Researchers can also access information about the participation of UO athletes at the Olympics, the marching band, the Order of the O, the Duck Athletic Fund, and the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.
University Archives Alphabetical Subject Files, 1890s-1990s
University Archives Subject Files, 1920-2005
UA Ref 1 Size:16.0 linear feet (16 containers) | UA Ref 6 Size: 18.0 linear feet (18 containers)
The University Archives alphabetical subject files and single files collections both have a variety of items of interest for researchers beginning inquiries about athletics at the University of Oregon. There is general information about athletics history already compiled in well-delineated folders, along with information about various stadiums and athletic facilities including Autzen Stadium, McArthur Court, and Hayward Field. There are several files of interest related to the growth of women’s athletics at UO, a great starting point for inquiries about Oregon’s implementation of Title IX requireents in the 1970s as well as earlier history. Also included in this collection are files about the history of the UO mascot, the origin of team nicknames, and special folders related to players and teams of note including the 1938-1939 NCAA champion Tall Firs team.
University Archives Biographical Files, ca. 1930s-present (UA Ref 2)
University Archives Biographical Files, 1889-present (UA Ref 7)
UA Ref 2 Size: 10 linear feet (10 containers)
UA Ref 7 Size: 9 linear feet (9 containers)
The University Archives biographical files are a resource that should not be glossed over by those looking for information pertaining to key figures in UO athletics history. Within the collection researchers can find information about visionary athletics department figures such as Leo Harris and Len Casanova. There are also folders related to renowned leaders such as basketball coaches Howard “Hobby” Hobson and Dick Harter or track mentors Bill Hayward and Bill Bowerman. There are also files related to several historic athletes in UO history, including Steve Prefontaine and Joey Harrington. If there is a figure you were unable to find information about in the biographical files, it is also worth checking out the biographical single files that also contain documents related to coaches such as Jim Aiken and Hugo Bezdek.
UO Sports Ephemera
Call number: UA Ref 8
Contained within the boxes of the University Archives artifacts and memorabilia collection is an assortment of ephemera related to Oregon athletics. Among the artifacts is a variety of commemorative pennants, hats, and other materials from Oregon’s appearance in the 1995 Rose Bowl. There are also several pieces of historic attire, including marching band and cheerleader uniforms, vintage track warm-ups, and a pre-World War II baseball uniform. There are footballs from past contests, a range of trophies, and scrapbooks from past stars such as Charles “Shy” Huntington. Researchers can also find framed photographs of early UO athletics teams, including images from the late 1800s.
Department of Intercollegiate Athletics records
Call Number: UA 196
The Department of Intercollegiate Athletics collection contains personal and professional correspondence, competition records and itineraries, interdepartmental memoranda, newspaper and magazine clippings, event programs and contracts, press releases, conference and NCAA documents, department financial records, plaques, and scrapbooks. These items are divided into seven different series, with materials covering the period from 1903 through 2002. Note: This collection is still being processed and portions may be temporarily unavailable for research. Specific items may also need to be reviewed, subject to state and legal records laws, before access may be granted.
Bill Bowerman papers
Call Number: UA 003 | Dates: 1932-1999 (inclusive) | 43.25 linear feet (92 containers)
The bulk of the Bill Bowerman papers relate to his long career as the UO track and field coach and his lasting impact as an innovator within the sport. The collection includes materials related to his work as an educator within the Department of Physical Education, his time assisting and coaching the football and track and field teams, and his innovations in track design and as a co-founder of Nike. The Bowerman papers also include documents from his work with the Amateur Athletic Union, the NCAA, the National Collegiate Track Coaches Association, and other sport organizations. There is also a large collection of information on former UO athletes. These are the most relevant documents for researchers investigating Bowerman’s achievements within sport, though the collection also includes other personal documents and other materials related to his philanthropic and public work.
Bowerman/Nike shoe tread (UA 030)
Research and development example of Nike shoe tread created by Bill Bowerman.
Department of Intercollegiate Athletics Films (UA 015)
This collection consists of films and videotapes produced primarily by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and its coaching staff. The collection includes over 3,500 items on film (primarily 16mm but also 8mm and 35mm), various videotape formats, and a handful of DVDs. Sports represented include football, men's and women's basketball, track and field, baseball, women's soccer, and women's volleyball. A number of recruitment films are also available. The dates cover 1930-2003. A preliminary inventory of this collection is available. Some items have been digitized.
Becky Sisley faculty papers, 1978-1985 (UA 230)
Becky Sisley was a University of Oregon professor and coach whose work focused on gender equality in sport and equal opportunity for women athletes and coaches. As the first Women’s Athletic Director from ‘73 to ‘79, Sisley pushed for change and progress in the UO Women’s Athletic Department. The Becky Sisley faculty papers contains documents from her time at the University of Oregon as well as her involvement in various Women’s sports organizations. The papers include course material from classes she taught, publications and articles written by her colleagues on title IX and gender equity in athletics as well as personal publications.
Field Hockey scrapbooks, 1946-1977 (UA 029)
Collection contains 3 scrapbooks from covering the years 1946-1966, 1967-1972, 1973-1977.
KEZI-TV/Chambers Communications Corp. records (Coll 427)
Chambers Communications Corp. operated TV station KEZI in Eugene, Oregon, as a local ABC affiliate from 1959-2014. This collection consists of news footage (including local sports coverage) covering 1966-1997. A preliminary inventory of this collection is available, but most of the collection has very little description. Content from 1966-1979 has been digitized.
Are you interested in donating items to the University Archives? Please email our department and our staff will contact you to discuss your items.