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Oregon Hall of Fame Coaching Staff
Ralph Hill
Hall of Fame Inductee
Coach Info:
Position: Hall of Fame Inductee
Other Position: 1993 Inductee, Track and Field (1932)

He started the long succession of Oregon distance runners, training as the pet project of Coach Bill Hayward in the 1920-30s. In a dual meet with Washington, he faced the Huskies’ Rufus Kiser in the mile, a runner he had never beaten during a two-year period. At the point when Kiser had always taken the lead, Hill held on for a four-stride victory in an American record time of 4:12.4, although it was not sanctioned until a year later.

He placed three consecutive years in the national collegiate championships in the mile, finishing second in 1931. By the next year, he had moved up to 5,000 meters and won the AAU title. Three weeks later, he challenged the Finns, the recognized masters of distance running. He was attempting to pass Lauri Lehtinen in the Olympic final, when the Finn veered out to prevent it and then repeated the incident inside. After two hours deliberating the result, Hill was placed second, but he refused to protest.