2011 Prefontaine Classic
|Location||1580 E. 15th Street
Eugene, Oregon, U.S.
|Owner||University of Oregon|
|Operator||University of Oregon|
|Capacity||10,500 (expandable 21,000)|
|Surface||Natural grass infield
Dirt / sawdust
|Broke ground||1919, 99 years ago|
|Opened||1919 - (for football)
1921 - (for track)
|Oregon Ducks track and field
Oregon Ducks football (1919-1966)
Hayward Field is one of the world's best-known historic track and field stadiums, located in the northwest United States in Eugene, Oregon. Nearly a century in age, it has been the home of the University of Oregon's track and field teams since 1921, and was the on-campus home of the varsity football team from 1919 through 1966.
Hayward Field was named after track coach Bill Hayward (1868-1947), who ran the Ducks' program from 1904 to 1947. Renovated in 2004, it is one of only five International Association of Athletics Federations Class 1 certified tracks in the United States (along with Hutsell-Rosen Track, Icahn Stadium, John McDonnell Field and Rock Chalk Park). The elevation of Hayward Field is approximately 420 feet (130 m) above sea level and its infield has a conventional north-south orientation. The Pacific Ocean is approximately fifty miles (80 km) to the west, separated by the Coast Range.
Hayward was built 99 years ago in 1919 to replace Kincaid Field, and was intended to primarily serve the school's football During halftime of the season opener that year, the venue was named for track coach Hayward; he was busy working as the team's trainer during the break, and did not know of the honor until the following day. In 1921, a six-lane cinder track was constructed around the football field. A natural grass field was first installed at Hayward Field in 1937; the surface was previously a mixture of dirt and sawdust. That field surface was not unique in the Northwest in the Pacific Coast Conference: Bell Field in Corvallis, Multnomah Stadium in Portland, and Husky Stadium in Seattle made similar transitions to natural grass in this period of time.
In 1949, a 28-row grandstand in the south end zone was constructed; with temporary bleachers in adjacent corners, the venue's capacity was raised to 22,500 for football. By the 1960s, the football team had long since outgrown Hayward Field; outside of the Civil War game with Oregon State, the Ducks played their higher-attended home games at Portland's Multnomah Stadium, 110 miles away. The final varsity football game was played in November 1966; the new Autzen Stadium opened in September 1967, and Hayward Field became a facility solely for track and field, except for a few freshman team football games.
The track was widened to eight lanes in late in the summer of 1969 and converted to an all-weather surface that autumn. Its first synthetic track was Pro-Turf, a urethane and sand composite which led to a hard and fast surface; it produced many world records and gained a reputation as the earth's fastest track. Light in color, it was resurfaced with the same in 1976.
Decayed and in disrepair, the original west grandstand was built in 1925 and its roof added in 1938. It was demolished in September 1973, and the finish line (for most events) was moved to the track's northeast corner for the 1974 season. The new west grandstand, also made of wood with a capacity of 4,300 spectators, was ready for use in March 1975. The Prefontaine Classic originated as the "Hayward Field Restoration Meet" in 1973, to help raise funds for a new west grandstand.
The track was converted to metric in the summer of 1987, its lap length changed from 440 yards (402.336 m) to 400 meters, a reduction of 2.336 m (7 ft 8.0 in). The geometry of the track was changed to the international configuration, with shorter straights and longer turns. This widening of the infield required the relocation of the 300-foot (90 m), 500-ton east grandstand, which was raised and moved 35 ft 9.5 in (10.91 m) east in March. The surface was again Pro-Turf, but with different surface properties; a textured top layer and a reddish color. In addition, a 200 m warmup track was added to the southwest of the main track, along with a new hammer throw area and a weight room facility. A state-of-the-art scoreboard was added in 1991, which gave unofficial times and competitors' placings just seconds after race completion.
After a donation in 1990 by Bill Bowerman (1911-1999), UO's longtime track coach (1948-1973), the 15,000-square-foot (1,400 m2) Bowerman Building was added to the northwest of the track, housing locker rooms, U of O track memorabilia and the university's International Institute for Sport and Human Performance. Bowerman began a public jogging program at Hayward Field in 1963 after a visit to New Zealand, inspired by coach Arthur Lydiard.
A major renovation in 2004 added a new entrance named Powell Plaza. It also moved the practice track, expanded it to 400 meters, and replaced the aging fencing bordering the complex. After Hayward Field was awarded the 2008 U.S. Olympic Trials, it underwent additional renovations in 2007. Eight light poles were installed for televised night events, and the crowned infield was removed and reconfigured. A walkway was added behind the west grandstand, and a new scoreboard was installed, thanks to a donation by alumnus Phil Knight and Nike.
Hayward Field has hosted USATF championships in 1986, 1993, 1999, 2001, 2009, 2011, and 2015 and the Olympic trials in 1972, 1976, 1980, 2008, 2012, and 2016. It has been the site of numerous NCAA championships, USATF Elite Running Circuit events, and the annual Nike Prefontaine Classic.
The World Junior Championships were held at Hayward Field in 2014, and the World Championships are slated to be held there in 2021. The stadium is scheduled to undergo a major overhaul after the 2017 track season and could accommodate 30,000 spectators at the event.
Hayward Field appeared in a fictionalized staging of the Olympic trials for the 1982 film Personal Best, in the 1998 biography of Steve Prefontaine Without Limits, and Alexi Pappas's 2016 film Tracktown. It is also in the background of the ROTC drill scene of the 1978 film Animal House.
Oregon Ducks who competed at Hayward Field