Made the University of Oregon a premier destination for aspiring pro runners. He touched off the jogging craze in the United States and co-founded Nike.
He worked as a journalist and a sometime high-school track coach before he was hired by his alma mater to coach track.
He and Phil Knight, his former trainee, each invested $500 into a company called Blue Ribbon Sports in 1964, importing Japanese Tiger running shoes to the U.S.
He had two daughters and three sons with his wife Barbara Young Bowerman.
He was played by Donald Sutherland in the 1998 movie Without Limits, which centered on his relationship with his most famous trainee, Steve Prefonatine.