In any discussion about distance running at Baylor, it seems that one name will be forever mentioned very early in the conversation. It is not an overstatement to call Bill Anderson ’71 the athlete that laid a foundation for the tradition of excellence in distance running that Baylor has been known for in the decades since his graduation.
A great cross country runner, Anderson set numerous course records (including the McCallie course as a sophomore), was a Mid-South champion with a course record at St. Andrews in 1969, and was second at Baylor’s first appearance in the TSSAA state meet in 1970.
Anderson’s career on the track was even more remarkable as he set school records in the mile run in 1968, 1970, and 1971, the 880-yard run in 1970 and 1971, and the two-mile run in 1971. Those performances remained in the Baylor record books until the mid- to late-1990s. He was a Mid-South champion in the mile and the 880 in 1970 and was third in the mile at the TSSAA state meet the following year.
At the University of Tennessee, Anderson was part of SEC outdoor championship teams in 1973 and 1974, competing in the 880, the 1,000-yard run, the mile, the two-mile, and the three-mile run. In 1973, he set a UT record in the 1,000-yard run and was part of a two-mile relay team that won the SEC indoor championship and was runner-up at the NCAA indoor championships. In 1974, his two-mile relay team won championships at the SEC indoor meet and the Penn Relays.
Anderson posted his best mile time in 1975, running a 4:03.3 for second place at the SEC outdoor championships. His career goal of breaking the four-minute mile was on track, but was derailed by a back injury.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree in communications earned at UT, Anderson holds an M.A. in economics from Clemson University and a Ph.D. in economics from Auburn University.