M. Jay Lindsay

Master Potter, Sculptor, Painter, Adventurer

Illustrations for Jogging, by UO Coach Bill Bowerman

1966 Jogging Bowerman cover by artist Melvin Jay LindsayJay Lindsay’s first illustration job came about while he was attending drawing classes with Bob James at the University of Oregon, around 1964. One day Lindsay asked his instructor if their were specific race-based anatomical differences between runners that made some naturally faster than others.

James responded, “I’ll call Bill Bowerman, he would know.” William Jay ‘Bill’ Bowerman was the inspirational phys ed teacher and track coach at University of Oregon, and had just co-founded Blue Ribbon Sports with Phil Knight.

Lindsay described his initial meeting with Bowerman, “So Bob and I went over to his oak-lined office for an interview. He was a dynamic person. When I walked in, he asked ‘two miler?’ I said ‘No, I don’t want to be a runner,’ even though the four minute mile had just been broken at the U of Oregon.” Lindsay’s father had run on the University’s track team twenty-some years before, and Jay certainly did not want to follow in his father’s footsteps.

Jay asked Bowerman his question and the coach responded that, yes, the proportions of the bones in the ankle were slightly different. Then coach Bowerman told the two about jogging and how he wanted to promote it. He was working on a physical fitness plan based on running with Dr W.E. Harris, from the University of Oregon’s School of Medicine.

“He said he was writing a short book on the subject and wanted me to illustrate it,” recounted Lindsay. “Of course I immediately agreed and helped him with the project.”

So Lindsay completed a set of simple line drawings for Jogging, a 20-page booklet self-published in 1966 by Bowerman and Harris. They eventually expanded their work into a national bestseller, and in 1971, Bowerman’s company Blue Ribbon Sports was re-named — to Nike, Inc.

Bill Bowerman