Former Mizzou Track Great Bill Bangert Passes Away
COLUMBIA - Former Mizzou track and field great Bill Bangert passed away last Tuesday after a year-long bout with Parkinson's disease. Bangert was a successful thrower for the Mizzou track and field program back in the 1940s when he won the NCAA discus titles in both 1944 and 1945. A two-time All-American, Bangert lived a storied life and blazed a very successful athletic career, despite going blind at the age of 28.
Bangert began his athletic with a St. Louis Golden Gloves Boxing Championship during his senior year of high school. He then attended Mizzou and won the 1944 and 1945 NCAA discus titles. He was also an established opera singer and in 1946, he signed to play professional football with the Brooklyn Dodgers. Bangert could clearly do anything that he set his mind to.
At the age of 28, Bangert lost his vision due to hemorrhages in his eyes. But that did not stop him as he went on to place second in the National AAU shot put championships in 1952. Bangert eventually regained vision in his right eye and went on to become the Mayor of Berekely, a small town in the St. Louis metropolitan area.
The Tiger track alum had dreams of brining the world's biggest track and field events to the St. Louis area. He petitioned to build a facility right off of I-70, the land which now houses Verizon Amphitheater. His worked for years to get a 100,000-seat dome built on the land in order to draw the largest track and field meets in the nation, but the efforts fell through.