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Paul Wilkinson
[1970]

School: Madison

Sports Played: Cross Country, Track and Field

High School Honors: 3-year Cross Country letterman. 4th in PIL as a Junior. 4-year Track & Field letterman. PIL and State Champion at 400M as a Senior. Won both the 200M and 400M at Centennial Invitational as a Senior. Madison school record of 48.8 in 440-yard Dash still stands.

Post High School Career: Graduate of U of O, Track & Field scholarship, 4-year letterman; career Top 10 in 440 IM Hurdles. Taught PE for 17 years at an elementary school in Eugene; coached Track & Field and Cross Country at North Eugene HS; Chairman of the Health, PE, and Recreation Committee for School District 4J; conducted school Track & Field meets and was a Track Official at U of O meets and Olympic Trials.

Commentary:

I actually began my competitive running career quite by accident. It was in the Fall of 1966 and I was talking with one of my 9th grade teachers Mr. Achizawa (Ah-she-zah-wah). In an off the cuff remark I mentioned that I had won the 50 meter dash in an elementary school track meet/field day. He immediately took me down to the track and cross country coaches office and suddenly I became part of a team which was a new experience for me.

My junior year in high school was when Bill Franzke took over as head coach for the cross country and track programs. He inspired me to set goals not in just track, but in life. When I became a senior, Bill suggested that I go to college and study to be a Physical Education teacher and coach. I ended up with a track scholarship to the University of Oregon, where I did study Physical Education and graduated in 4 years.

I ran track for the University of Oregon beginning in 1970 under coach Bill Bowerman. I credit him with inspiring me to develop a competitive spirit. He was a no nonsense, old school type of coach and told all his athletes if we put in the work during the week, good things will happen for us on Meet days. When Bill talked and coached, you listened

After college, it really has been my family and friends who have inspired me and helped me grow as a person. Many of my friendships are still strong 45 years later, so I have been blessed. My family and friends have always been there for me through thick and thin and I am so thankful for them.

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