Karl Bivans wasn’t considered a great track and field prospect coming out of Wilson High School in the late 1960s. He had thrown the javelin 180 feet, the discus 145-9, and the shot put 45 feet.
His grades weren’t good enough initially to attend Millersville University after high school, so he went to Cheyney for a year, where he played football in the fall and threw for the track and field team in the spring.
After a year at Cheyney, and a 2.9 GPA, he transferred to Millersville, where he blossomed as a thrower, becoming the 1970 Pennsylvania State College Conference (later renamed Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference) champion in the discus (162-5 ½) and shot put (52-2 ¾). He also threw the javelin (200-4). His discus toss was top 10 in the nation among small-college throwers. It helped the Marauders win the conference crown that season.
Bivans was also a standout two-way lineman and kicker/punter for the Marauders in football.
The efforts led Bivans to receive the Earl J. Finley Award as the top male athlete at Millersville in the 1969-70 school year.
Bivans returned for his senior campaign the next year and threw the discus a record-breaking 54.65 meters (179 feet, 1 inch).