When W. J. Bingham '16 was appointed Supervisor of Track at the University last fall, and later made head coach, it was with the idea that Bingham would be able to instill a fighting spirit into the track team, a thing which has been lacking for several years. Certainly he is the man for the job, if his own performances in school and college mean anything. When Bingham entered Exeter in 1908 he had never had any running experience, but he was determined that he would become a runner, and when he graduated it was with the reputation of being the greatest half-miler Exeter had ever produced. During his last year at school, when he was captain of the track team, he won the Harvard, Yale and Exeter interscholastic half-mile runs. In the Harvard Interscholastic Meet of 1912 he established the interscholastic record for the half-mile of 1 minute 59 seconds, a record which still stands.
Mr. Bingham entered the University in the fall of 1912, and immediately started working to make a name for himself in Harvard track annals. The records show that he succeeded. During his Freshman year he was captain of the track team, and as a result of his popularity in the class was elected Class President. In the Yale Freshman meet in the spring of 1913, he established a new Harvard Freshman record for the half-mile, which still stands. Bingham didn't stop his record-breaking with his Freshman year. In 1916, when he was Captain of the University track team, he made a new Harvard record for the half-mile in the Yale meet of 1 minute 54 2-5 seconds, which no Crimson runner has beaten since then. Bingham showed his fighting spirit this year, when he ran anchor on the relay team in the race with Yale at the B. A. A. games, and also in the Penn Relay Carnival. In the Yale race he gave one of the most thrilling exhibitions of determination to win that track followers have ever seen, when, starting several yards behind, he fought his way ahead of the Yale runner in the last lap and led him to the tape by a few feet. In the Penn Relay Carnival it was chiefly Bingham's running which brought the pennant to the University team.
In the Intercollegiates in 1916 Bingham had the ill-fortune to be running against "Ted" Meridith, who that year established a new record for the half-mile of 1 minute 53 seconds, in the most exciting race of the meet. Bingham was right with 'Meridith, fighting the whole distance, and was only a few inches behind him at the finish.
Bingham did not devote himself exclusively to track while he was in College. In spite of the fact that he was supporting himself, he had time to be President of the Musical Clubs and Leader of the Glee Club; President of the Phillips Brooks House Association; Vice-President of the Student Council; and Vice-President of the Varsity Club. He was held in high esteem by his class-mates, and in the Senior elections he was made First Marshal of his class, the highest honor which could be given.
School Stars Not Essential to Team
Contrary to most coaches, Mr. Bingham does not believe that a large number of school stars is necessary for a successful track team. Although the men who get first places regularly are usually born runners, the men who score the second and third places and win meets can be made, but only by means of hard work and continuous application. Mr. Bingham's idea is that work and a fighting spirit will go a long way toward making good runners, but that the first requisite for a track team is a large and enthusiastic squad. The small size of the squad which has been reporting during the winter season has been Coach Bingham's only worry, and he wishes that any man who thinks that he can run would report for track at the beginning of the spring season in April