Oregon Superfan Phil Knight Has Been Waiting 78 Years for This

Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight
Nike co-founder and Ducks benefactor Phil Knight and his wife, Penny, at an Oregon basketball game.
Rick Bowmer/AP/REX/Shutterstock

When Phil Knight’s beloved Oregon Ducks last won the NCAA men’s basketball title, he had just turned 1. The year was 1939, the only other time the team ever made the Final Four.

So when Oregon beat Kansas on Saturday evening in the Elite Eight round of the tournament, the victory was very sweet for the Nike co-founder. Knight celebrated with the team and helped cut down the net in Kansas City, Mo.

The business magnate has donated hundreds of millions of dollars to his beloved alma mater over the years.

Last year, Knight, who studied business at the Eugene, Ore., campus and ran track there before founding Nike, donated $500 million to the university, which is set to open the Phil and Penny Knight Campus for Accelerating Scientific Impact.

The campus, which the school estimates will cost $1 billion total, is designed to “fast-track scientific discoveries and the process of turning those discoveries into innovations that improve the quality of life for people in Oregon, the nation and beyond.”

phil knight nike billions donate charityPhil Knight on CBS’ “Sunday Morning.” CBS

Oregon faces The University of North Carolina — also a longtime Nike partner — next Saturday in Phoenix. The winner of that game will meet the victor of the Gonzaga/South Carolina game.