easton bill
Bill Easton
  • One of the greatest running coaches of all-time
  • Coached three national championship teams; two in track, one in cross country
  • Coached eight Olympians and 32 All-Americans
Easton, Bill
Inducted 2000

Born: September 13, 1904 - Stinesville, IN

Died: October 4, 1997 - Kansas City, KS

Graduated: Sandborn (IN) H.S., 1922; Indiana University, 1927 - BA; 1932 - BS; 1935 - MS


A Long-time track and cross country coach, Bill Easton, earned his place among the top track and field coaches of all-time.  During his years as head coach in cross country, and indoor and outdoor track from 1947-1965, Easton's KU teams won 39 conference championships, including one stretch of eight years from 1952-59 when his Jayhawks won the conference title in all three sports.

Career Highlights

Prior to coming to KU, Easton coached Drake University to three straight NCAA cross country titles and helped establish the Drake Relays as one of the premier track events in the world.  He accomplished a similar feat for the KU Relays.  His outdoor track teams won back-to-back NCAA titles in 1959 and 1960.  He also coached the school to two seconds, a third and a fourth.   His KU cross country teams won 16 conference championships and the 1953 NCAA title.   Easton-coached athletes at Kansas set four world records, four Olympic records, fourteen American records, fourteen intercollegiate records, seven NCAA records, and two national college freshman records.  His star pupils included Olympic champions Bill Nieder, Al Oerter and Billy Mills.  Altogether, Easton coached eight Olympians and 32 All-Americans.


Easton’s induction into the State of Kansas Sports Hall of Fame marks the seventh hall of fame enshrinement.  He was also inducted into the Helms Hall of Fame, 1966; National Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1975; U.S. Track & Field Hall of Fame, 1975; Drake Relays Coaches Hall of Fame, 1976; Indiana High School Hall of Fame, 1977; KU Athletics Hall of Fame, 1977.