2016 Alumnus of the Year

Tobie Hatfield

Tobie HatfieldTobie Hatfield was one of the top three pole vaulters in the country while he was a Mountie. Now, as the Athlete Innovation Director with the Nike Corporation, Hatfield continues to vault to the top as an icon in the athletic show industry, working directly with famous athletes to help create numerous designs and innovations.

As a high school athlete, Hatfield captured the Oregon State Pole Vault Championship. He later moved to Taiwan where his father coached the Taiwanese Track and Field Team to prepare for the 1980 Olympics. Hatfield resumed his pole vaulting career at Mt. SAC. He captured the Mt. SAC Relays Community College title in 1983, becoming the Mounties' No. 1 vaulter and one of the top three pole vaulters in the nation. He later transferred to Abilene Christian University, where he earned All-Academic All-American honors.

Hatfield joined Nike in 1990 and worked in the corporation's research and development center in Taiwan for five years and was promoted to senior engineer of advanced projects. The renowned designer developed some of Nike's signature models including the Michael Johnson Olympic "Gold Shoe," the ACG Trail Running Line, the Nike Free, and PV Lite. He helped launch Nike's celebrated Innovation Kitchen in 2000.

Today, Hatfield works closely on product design with many sports superstars, including Maria Sharapova and Tiger Woods.

But, perhaps even more exciting than that is Hatfield's involvement in driving a number of the company's significant advances in sneaker and apparel technology. He most recently developed a cutting-edge wrap-around zipper system in sneakers for physically challenged athletes.

"We do such a great job helping athletes perform better, run faster, jump higher, and all that kind of stuff," says Hatfield. "But what about performing better just in the sense of quality of life? When we say, 'if you have a body, you're an athlete,' that means everybody."

Outside of work, Hatfield spends much of his time with his wife and volunteers coaching track and field in his home state of Oregon. He has two sons and a daughter.