February 22, 2014
Chaos and controversy reigned supreme on day 1 of the 2014 USA Indoors – the national track and field championships – in Albuquerque, NM.
After the men’s 3,000, rival Nike coaches Alberto Salazar and Jerry Schumacher had a very heated exchange and they had to be physically separated from each other.
A well-placed source tells us that after the men’s 3,000, where Galen Rupp qualified for World Indoors with a second place showing ahead of Jerry Schumacher-coached athletes Ryan Hill (third), Lopez Lomong (fourth) and pace-setter Andrew Bumbalough (DQ), that Alberto Salazar was very angry because he felt the Schumacher-coached athletes had tried to work together to defeat Salazar’s prize pupil Galen Rupp.
After the race, our source says Salazar got in the face of one of Schumacher’s athletes and yelled at him. Later, Schumacher and Salazar encountered each other and Salazar once again got very vocal. Our source says Salazar “had to be restrained as he tried to physically put his hands” on Schumacher. A shouting match ensued as the guys were separated by other Nike employees. Schumacher supposedly told Salazar if he’s got a problem with any of his athletes to stay away from his athletes and come directly to him.
Update: Jon Gugala has now come out with his own story on the Schumacher-Salazar exchange on RunBlogRun. Gugala’s story is based on the eyewitness account of 3-time Olympic marathoner Lee Troop, who is the coach of women’s 3,000 runner Laura Thweatt. You’ve got to read it as it’s got even more details. His articles includes the following description:
One of Salazar’s “posse” intervened before Salazar made contact (with Schumacher), but Troop says that though Salazar didn’t have a clenched fist, indicating a punch was imminent, there definitely would have been a push.
Troop said Salazar was very much out of control so much so that Troop pushed him away as he feared Salazar was going to hurt Thweatt.
“To be perfectly honest, it was just bad for the sport, the way the whole thing was conducted. It looked poor; it was bad; I think a lot of people are going to be walking away with a really bad taste in their mouth. It’s just not right on so many levels,” said Troop to Gugala.
“It was like a volcano that was just building up to erupt and we saw the complete eruption and the meltdown.”
Quick Take: Wow!!!
This may be a shocker for the casual fan who wouldn’t understand why two Nike coaches would go at it. But in industry circles, this isn’t a big surprise. We’ve long known that the Salazar and Schumacher camps have a very frosty relationship to say the least. To be honest, we basically were under the impression that the two really don’t even speak to each other.
We actually think rivalries like this are good for the sport. In the NFL, coaches snub each other, get after if fairly often as shown here:
Note. We are sending this account to both Schumacher and Salazar via email to see if they have a response or disagree with our assessment of what took place.