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  • Coach Cook reveals why Shalane split

    My masters track friend Steve Nearman, a Washington Times running columnist, has the scoop on the Flanagan/Cook breakup.
    http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200 ... ntegrates/

    Key revelation:

    Cook spoke publicly for the first time from his training camp in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

    "[(Flanagan's husband Steve) Edwards] has always had insidious intent to coach," Cook said. "I was warned by a North Carolina coach to keep an eye on him. Of course, it is hard to hide workouts when you are intimately involved with athletes. [Edwards] has made his job his wife — period. He even films [workouts]. I was too trusting and they had a plan - learn, copy, use all my training system and then take over."

    Cook said money also became an issue, but Edwards' influence took its toll.

    "[Edwards] went from student to genius really quickly. No pun intended, but they have the Cook book and will do well," he said. "Flanagan has huge talent but many people involved - dad, husband, who the hell knows? All I know [is] my record [with Flanagan] is straight. ... We brought her from boot to bronze and obviously they have all they need to learn and we will see. I wish them luck, but to take others' workouts, film them and then move on is pretty parasitic. I am over it - surprised - but loyalty is hard to find."
    K E N
    K E N

  • #2
    Yikes! Some intense stuff there.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by gh
      Yikes! Some intense stuff there.

      Don't know any of the people involved, but if Edwards does indeed have the controlling personality ALLEDGED (for gh) by Cook, I could easily see this. I had a little league father do the same with his daughter on a high school team I helped with for one year (before budget cuts wiped out all assistant positions). The guy--the quintessential week-end warrior who believes the only thing a coach has that he doesn't is a title--watched, recorded, and then demanded the school let him coach his frosh daughter. The principal/A.D., scared of any trouble from any parent, and the head coach--a member of the guy's church--caved and I washed my hands of the matter and coached all the others. I qualified six kids for the section meet (a school record) and got one to state by him winning the 800m. The girl did well for three weeks, then started getting stale (the others had moved on to a sharper phase of training he didn't know anything about). So Daddy-O hid out in the stands and his car and watched what I was doing with the others and passed it on to her. She was probably the most talented kid on either the boys or girls team, capable of going sub-5 minutes by her junior year maybe, and she hung on to make the section meet, too. Then I was done at the school, and when Team Control Freak continued the next year with no one to copy from, it all fell apart.


      Lengthy story but the principle holds true on any level: Anyone can coach when things are going well, but time will tell when the inevitable training hiccups begin to happen.

      Comment


      • #4
        Re: Coach Cook reveals why Shalane split

        Originally posted by TrackCEO
        My masters track friend Steve Nearman, a Washington Times running columnist, has the scoop on the Flanagan/Cook breakup.
        http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200 ... ntegrates/


        Cook said money also became an issue, but Edwards' influence took its toll.
        K E N

        The "now that we've made it, get rid of the coach and keep more of the earnings" idea.

        Hmm. Didn't we just see this with Jeremy Wariner last year??

        Comment


        • #5
          In addressing the high school situation, let's suppose that the girl arrived on the scene capable of winning state in the 1600. And let's suppose that the coach is pretty good at coaching field events and sprints but has never coached middle distance runners. I've seen situations similar to this several times. Some coaches insist on doing their own training - borrowing from who knows where - and screw things up. Some let the girl continue with her own training and she misses the social interaction that is so much of the fun of high school sports. And some coaches work with the previous coach or stage father to understand how to train the girl and works the other middle distance runners' training in so that it is similar to the star's training. Which girl do you think is the happiest - especially when others on the team develop and they are able to win the 4x800s, 4x1600s, and DMs?

          Comment


          • #6
            Re: Coach Cook reveals why Shalane split

            Originally posted by TrackCEO
            My masters track friend Steve Nearman, a Washington Times running columnist, has the scoop on the Flanagan/Cook breakup.
            http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/200 ... ntegrates/

            Key revelation:

            Cook spoke publicly for the first time from his training camp in San Luis Potosi, Mexico.

            "[(Flanagan's husband Steve) Edwards] has always had insidious intent to coach," Cook said. "I was warned by a North Carolina coach to keep an eye on him. Of course, it is hard to hide workouts when you are intimately involved with athletes. [Edwards] has made his job his wife — period. He even films [workouts]. I was too trusting and they had a plan - learn, copy, use all my training system and then take over."

            Cook said money also became an issue, but Edwards' influence took its toll.

            "[Edwards] went from student to genius really quickly. No pun intended, but they have the Cook book and will do well," he said. "Flanagan has huge talent but many people involved - dad, husband, who the hell knows? All I know [is] my record [with Flanagan] is straight. ... We brought her from boot to bronze and obviously they have all they need to learn and we will see. I wish them luck, but to take others' workouts, film them and then move on is pretty parasitic. I am over it - surprised - but loyalty is hard to find.

            "Frankly, it has never been fun," Cook said, pointing to Edwards' participation. "It is very hard to coach like that. ... To tell you sincerely, I am so relieved, like weight off my shoulder." "
            John Cook's never been one to mince words :shock: .

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by GeorgiaFan1
              In addressing the high school situation, let's suppose that the girl arrived on the scene capable of winning state in the 1600. And let's suppose that the coach is pretty good at coaching field events and sprints but has never coached middle distance runners. I've seen situations similar to this several times. Some coaches insist on doing their own training - borrowing from who knows where - and screw things up. Some let the girl continue with her own training and she misses the social interaction that is so much of the fun of high school sports. And some coaches work with the previous coach or stage father to understand how to train the girl and works the other middle distance runners' training in so that it is similar to the star's training. Which girl do you think is the happiest - especially when others on the team develop and they are able to win the 4x800s, 4x1600s, and DMs?

              Valid point.

              Which is why, in my case, before the sh*t hit the fan, the girl was encouraged to run on the 4x4. Daddy-O had so alienated her from the other girls, she was already an outsider. Kids associated with her, but could never count on anything they did with her being approved by Control-Freak. But it was a small school, and the damage could be repaired by things such as involving her more with the other kids on the team, hence, the 4x4. She was very excited, but since her being part of anything not completely controlled by him--i.e., three other people involved--was out of the question, Daddy-O went to the AD/principal and DEMANDED his daughter only race whatever events HE decided on for that week.

              My suggestion to the head coach and AD was to temporarily suspend her from the team--giving the girl and her bad-but-not-as-bad Mother time to talk some sense into his head. Last thing that should have been done was give this guy whatever he wanted, however he wanted it, whenever he wanted it. That was insane, but that's exactly what happened, through a combination of administrational cronyism and wet-their-pants fear, since the family involved were 1/10 Native American...a race card both the mother and father played many times in the past for just about everything, much to the chagrine of the other Native American families in that area, one member of which was the gentleman who actively recruited me to be an assistant when he discovered my previous coaching credentials.

              We were working for the kid; Daddy-O was working for himself.

              Cook was obviously working for Flanagan--the results verify it. If Cook and these others are correct in their asessment of the situation, the question becomes who is Edwards primarily working for...his wife, or his wife only if HE is in charge? If Flanagan falters (there is usually a 1-2 season grace period before huge dropoff, if not doing things correctly), will he step back for someone else? Time will tell.


              On any level, it's hard to build when someone with influence sabotages the foundation.

              Comment


              • #8
                Two separate issues: Cook with Flanagan and Cook with Dohahue.

                First with Dohahue. It is hard to accept the fact that a coach is giving you the real deal. That 4:05 in Osaka was the race of her life. She runs a 4:08 at the trials and a 4:16 in the Bejing heats. 4:08 at WAF and 4:07 at Pre. I remember Eahmon Coughlin going after the masters sub 4 mile. He was clockin' 4:03s, 4:02s, 4:01's. He was consistently under 4:05. But Dohnahue is about, on average, 7-8 seconds over 4 minutes for 1500, with not one time under 4:05. What type of workout will get Donahue under 4:05, and subsequently under 4? And is a sub-4 realistic?

                As for Flanagan/Cook, I'll say this......notice that Al Joyner never thought of steppin' to Bobby Kersee and takin' control over FloJo!

                Comment


                • #9
                  [quote="einnod23"]Two separate issues: Cook with Flanagan and Cook with Dohahue.

                  First with Dohahue. It is hard to accept the fact that a coach is giving you the real deal. That 4:05 in Osaka was the race of her life. She runs a 4:08 at the trials and a 4:16 in the Bejing heats. 4:08 at WAF and 4:07 at Pre. I remember Eahmon Coughlin going after the masters sub 4 mile. He was clockin' 4:03s, 4:02s, 4:01's. He was consistently under 4:05. But Dohnahue is about, on average, 7-8 seconds over 4 minutes for 1500, with not one time under 4:05. What type of workout will get Donahue under 4:05, and subsequently under 4? And is a sub-4 realistic? {/quote]


                  Good points.

                  As realistic as I am, I don't think I would ever tell an athlete of mine what he/she could never do. For one thing, I wouldn't KNOW (I could guess, and maybe be right on, but I couldn't really know).

                  As far as the big body thing, many others (including Peter Snell, at one time) believed someone like John Walker was simply carrying too much weight (164 lbs.) to be able to process the oxygen necessary to go very fast for a middle or long-distance race. We know how that acessment turned out. And if Walker was the exception to the rule, why not Donahue the female version?

                  Also, just because someone (female) may never break 4:00 doesn't mean she can't WIN a lot of 1500m. races. How many Olympic finals were won in sub-4 times anyway? [For the cynics, how many when real drug testing was adhered to?]

                  Above, I gave my two cents of indirect support FOR Cook, based on his comments, if such WAS indded the true situation. But if it was a matter of Cook being honest to the point of negativity , I can see why anyone would say, "Thanks, but no more."

                  A quote from a feature about the group in a recent Running Times issue comes to mind (allowing for the quote taken out of context, of course) wherein Cook tells Donahue to get her "fat ass" off his mountain bike before her weight breaks it. At the time I believed it to be a harmless joke among people whose trust in each other allows such good-natured frank kidding around. But now, not so harmless? Not so good-natured?

                  If Edwards' interference screws up a good situation, it won't be the first time that has happened. If Cook's demeanor has self-destructed his own coaching, that won't be the first time, either.

                  Whatever, as a fan I liked their work this past summer and for that admittedly selfish reason, wish things could have been different for them all.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Being totally honest, I don't really follow the MD scene too closely but my question would be if not the 1500m, what would be Donahue's option(s) as an elite runner? Is she fast enough to be competitive in the 800? Would she be a better steepler or 5k person? My guess would be no(again just a guess though the steeple might be an option) on all counts. So with that said, what other events would she be likely to have as much or more success in than the the 1500m that she's already focused on?

                    Even if she does not elevate her performance to a medal standard or thereabouts, I think the 1500m she's currently concentrating on seems to be her best event. So while I can appreciate his honesty in stating his opinion as to her long term potential in the event, what race does he think she'd be better at, if not the 1500m?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I hesitate to write more, since I help represent Donohue, but she's pretty useful (as the Brits would say) over 800 in addition to 1500.

                      2:01.17 PR from Liege '07, and then last year:

                      800 m
                      2:03.72 4 Jamaica Inv Kingston 3 May
                      2:02.04 1 Adidas Carson CA 18 May
                      2:02.04 3 Reebok New York NY 31 May
                      2:02.05 2 Lignano 13 Jul
                      2:01.19 SB (67) 1 Naimette-Xhovémont 16 Jul

                      Thanks to Tilastopaja for the stats.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by dl
                        I hesitate to write more, since I help represent Donohue, but she's pretty useful (as the Brits would say) over 800 in addition to 1500.

                        2:01.17 PR from Liege '07, and then last year:

                        800 m
                        2:03.72 4 Jamaica Inv Kingston 3 May
                        2:02.04 1 Adidas Carson CA 18 May
                        2:02.04 3 Reebok New York NY 31 May
                        2:02.05 2 Lignano 13 Jul
                        2:01.19 SB (67) 1 Naimette-Xhovémont 16 Jul

                        Thanks to Tilastopaja for the stats.
                        I was not implying that she had not put out good performances in other races but rather that the 1500m seems to be her best event. Since Cook seems to feel that she was limited potential-wise in the 1500m, any idea what event he might have though best for her or was it simply a case where they just needed to part ways?

                        Comment

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