Bill Schmidt

Hall of Fame • Class of 2014

Bill Schmidt enjoyed an All-America collegiate career as javelin thrower. In his senior year he won both the Texas and Drake Relays and finished second at the Kansas Relays. Schmidt won the Missouri Valley Conference title and as team captain, led the University of North Texas to the team title with a meet record in the javelin. Schmidt had a second place finish in the 1970 NCAA Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa and a second place at the USTFF Championships in Wichita, Kansas. His longest collegiate javelin throw recorded an awesome 280 ft 7 in.

To follow-up his collegiate career Schmidt won the 1971 World Military Championships in Turku, Finland, setting a new world military record in the javelin while representing the U.S. Army. Bill Schmidt then topped that win when he won the bronze medal in the 1972 Olympic javelin throw in Munich, Germany. Schmidt still remains the only male American to medal in the javelin event in the last 61 years.

University of Tennessee track coach Stan Huntsman brought Schmidt to Knoxville as an assistant track coach in 1973, where he became involved with and represented the Knoxville Track Club. Schmidt earned a Masters Degree from UT in Business Education in 1976. Schmidt later taught at Central High School in Knoxville, and coached boys and girls cross-country and track.

Schmidt won the USA National Championship in the javelin at UCLA in 1978 while representing the Knoxville Track Club and was named "Javelin Thrower of the Decade" (1970s) in the U.S. by Track and Field News. His career best was 283 ft 2 in.

From his ties to the University of Tennessee and the Knoxville Track Club, Schmidt went on to become a giant in his sports marketing profession. Schmidt was the Director of Sports for the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville. Working with renowned sports writer Tom Siler, Schmidt organized and managed 23 sporting events during the Fair: including an NFL exhibition game, an NBA exhibition game, USA vs USSR in swimming, the US Track and Field (USATF) Championships, and a PGA event. With this as a background, he was hired by Stokely Van Camp as sports marketing director to market their signature product, Gatorade, and relocated to Indianapolis.

Stokely loaned Schmidt to Peter Ueberroth for the 1984 Olympic Games in Los Angeles. Schmidt was Vice President of Sports at the games and helped the Los Angeles Games turn the largest profit in Olympic history: $225,000,000 dollars.

In his 15 years with Gatorade, the brand went from $84 million to $1.75 billion in sales in 24 countries. While his contracts with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, Peyton Manning and Mia Hamm were notable, his contract with Michael Jordan, written on a napkin in Charlotte, NC, was the most rewarding for Gatorade. There Schmidt was instrumental in helping to develop the iconic "Be Like Mike" advertising campaign.

Schmidt went on to be CEO of Oakley, Inc., and presently has his own consulting firm, Pegasus Sports Marketing in Knoxville. He has also served as an Adjunct Professor in the Department of Exercise, Sport and Leisure Studies at the University of Tennessee.

While it's recorded that a couple KTC athletes have won several USTFF Senior National Track Championships, Schmidt is believed to be the only athlete to represent KTC and win an Open U.S. National Championship in 1978.

Schmidt was elected into the Greater Knoxville Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.