Bill Bergan is the kind of head coach that deserves to be on the Mount Rushmore of Iowa State University’s athletic directors. On Monday, the former coach of the men’s track and cross-country teams passed away. He was 80.
Jamie Pollard, the director of athletics at Iowa State, was quoted in a press release issued by the athletics department as saying, “Bill Bergan will be remembered as one of the most successful coaches in the history of Iowa State, but he will also be remembered as one of the most kindhearted, competitive, and humble people I have ever met.”
“Bill was a legendary figure in our field, and his influence on our program can be seen and heard even in modern times.”
During Bergan’s stellar coaching career, which spanned from 1971 to 1995, Iowa State won the NCAA cross-country team championship in 1989 and 1994 under his direction. Additionally, his teams won a total of 28 Big Eight team championships.
Our condolences to Karen Bergan and family. Bill was a legend in our industry. You will not find a more kind, humble and polite person than Bill Bergan. https://t.co/uRElVa6Rq5
— Jamie Pollard (@IASTATEAD) November 23, 2022
He was an Olympic coach for 16 athletes, two of them, Danny Harris and Sunday Uti, who won medals at the Olympic Games held in Los Angeles in 1984.
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In addition, Harris won the 400-meter hurdles event at the 1987 World Championship, which gave him the silver medal. In addition, at a track match in Madrid in 1987, Harris became the first man to defeat Edwin Moses since 1977.
Other Bergan athletes such as Gareth Brown (800 meters), Jon Brown (5,000 meters), Scott Crowell (discus), Jonah Koech (5,000 meters and cross-country), John Nuttall (cross-country), Brian Tietjens (high jump), and Bob Verbeeck won individual NCAA championships (1,500 meters).
Bergan received his degree in 1965 from the University of Northern Iowa. He was born and raised in Cedar Falls. Between the years 1965 and 1971, he served as the track coach at Waterloo Columbus High School.
Karen, his wife, and their children Jody, Dan, Mike, and Amy are the only people who will carry on after Bergan’s passing.