Phil Knight


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Phil Knight
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Alberto Salazar and Phil Knight NCAA Championships Day 3
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on June 13, 2009
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Alberto Salazar talks about his young prodigy, Galen Rupp, and his complete domination of the 2009 NCAA Championships. Phil Knight the founder of Nike comes in to chat about his boy Alberto and compares Galen Rupp to Steve Prefontaine.

A former track star at the University of Oregon, it is only fitting that Philip H. Knight, the co-founder and former CEO of Nike, Inc., sought comfort and style in his entrepreneurial life for his fellow running mates.

While earning his bachelor’s degree in accounting at UO, Knight trained under legendary track coach Bill Bowerman, and was a letter winner in 1957, 1958 and 1959. Knight often experimented with the new running shoes Bowerman developed, but it wasn’t until he enrolled at Stanford’s Graduate Business School that he dreamed up Nike.


Knight’s interest was ignited after taking a small business class and a trip to Japan. His interest in the Asian economy and a visit to an Onitsuka plant that produced Adidas running shoe knock-offs impressed Knight with the concept of quality and low cost. He cut a distribution deal in the U.S. with them before leaving.

In 2000, Knight was inducted into the Oregon Sport Hall of Fame for his contributions to sports in Oregon. Although he stepped down as CEO of Nike in 2004, he donated $105 million to Stanford GSB in 2006 and announced in August that he and his wife, Penny, were making a $100 million donation to the UO Athletics Legacy Fund. This donation is reportedly the largest in the university's history.

Knight’s 35 percent stake in Nike has a recent net worth of $7.9 billion, making him the 30th richest American.

  • Nike

  • Cleveland High School

  • University Of Oregon

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