EUGENE, Ore. – University of Oregon athletic director Rob Mullens has announced the hiring of Jerry Schumacher to lead the Oregon cross country and track and field program. Schumacher spent the past 15 years at the helm of the Nike Bowerman Track Club, establishing himself as one of the premier distance coaches in the world through his work and results with the Beaverton-based group.
“Jerry Schumacher is a world-class track and field leader with a unique ability to build a dynamic team atmosphere to support a first-class experience for the athletes,” said Mullens. “He understands the modern athlete, the importance of building connection and developing young people to their fullest potential. His commitment to the athlete through his tireless work ethic is well known and we are excited that his leadership and passion will add to the tremendous legacy of the Oregon track and field and cross country programs.”
As director and head coach of the Bowerman Track Club, Schumacher has coached 28 Olympians, seen his athletes win 10 Olympic and World Championship medals, and was named the 2017 USATF Coach of the Year.
Schumacher jumps back into the collegiate ranks having spearheaded the University of Wisconsin men’s distance and cross country program between 1998-2008. During his time in Madison, the Badgers won two NCAA team titles—2005 cross country, 2007 indoor—and he was named the 2005 National Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year.
“Track and field at the University of Oregon is unique in so many ways, from its incomparable history of success to the unparalleled support of the TrackTown community,” Schumacher said. “Rob Mullens and I share a common vision for the future of the program, and I’m grateful that he and his staff trust me to execute that vision. I am humbled by the opportunity to lead the program into the future and can’t wait to start working with the incredible student-athletes at the University of Oregon.”
At the recently completed USATF Outdoor Championships, Schumacher and the Bowerman Track Club collected seven top-three finishes including victories by Grant Fisher and Elise Cranny in the men’s and women’s 5,000 meters, respectively. In his winning performance, Fisher broke the meet record with a time of 13:03.86 and led a 1-2 finish with BTC teammate Woody Kincaid.
The group also secured national titles from Karissa Schweizer at 10,000 meters back in May and Marc Scott who won the 5,000 meters at the UK Athletics Championships last month.
Overall, 11 members of the Bowerman Track Club representing four countries qualified for the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 including five men in the 5,000 meters.
Schumacher’s athletes have proven themselves up to the challenge of the global stage. Most recently, Scott won World Indoor bronze over 3,000 meters this past March. At last summer’s Olympic Games in Tokyo, Mo Ahmed (Canada) and Courtney Frerichs won silver in the men’s 5,000 meters and women’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, respectively.
Evan Jager won the group’s first Olympic medal in 2016 with his silver performance in the steeplechase.
The Bowerman Track Club has produced 10 current American records and nine top-10 performances in world history. Seven of the 10 American records have come over the past four years including three in 2022: men’s indoor 5,000 meters (Fisher – 12:53.73), women’s indoor 5,000 meters (Cranny – 14:33.17) and men’s 10,000 meters (Fisher – 26:33.84).
In 2017, Shalane Flanagan was the New York City Marathon champion and ended the 40-year drought for American women at the prestigious event.
Along with the team’s national title in 2005, Schumacher guided the Wisconsin men’s cross country program to 10 top-five finishes including five runner-up showings (1999, 2002, ’03, ’04, ’06). In 2005, the Badgers placed their top six inside the top 20 including back-to-back NCAA individual champion Simon Bairu.
The UW distance crew accounted for 28 of the team’s 40 points in winning the 2007 NCAA indoor title, led by 5,000-meter champion Chris Solinsky who was also runner-up at 3,000 meters. Two years prior, the Badgers tied the then-program-best finish of third at the 2005 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Under Schumacher’s tutelage, Solinsky was a five-time NCAA champion, capping his standout career by sweeping the indoor and outdoor titles for 5,000 meters during the 2007 campaign. The Stevens Point, Wisc., native was also a four-time Big Ten champion and 14-time All-American for the Badgers.
Schumacher was the 2008 USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Men’s Indoor Assistant Coach of the Year and was the USTFCCCA Great Lakes Region Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year on four occasions. Along with the regional recognition, Schumacher was an eight-time Big Ten Cross Country Coach of the Year.
During his coaching tenure in Madison, Schumacher was part of 24 Big Ten championships—nine cross country, eight indoor, seven outdoor—and guided five men to conference titles in cross country, a list that featured Bairu (three times), Teagenkamp, Matt Downin (two times), Jason Vanderhoof and Matt Withrow.
Schumacher began his coaching career in 1997 as an assistant at the University of North Carolina. He’d spent the previous three years (1994-96) as director of operations at his alma mater.
During his collegiate career at Wisconsin, Schumacher was a three-time All-American and a member of the Badgers’ squad that won the 1988 NCAA cross country title. He turned in a career-best NCAA finish of fifth place over 1500 meters at the 1993 national meet in New Orleans.
The Wisconsin native ran a personal best of 3:39.46 in 1993, a time that still ranks 10th in UW program history.
Schumacher and his wife Kathy have four children—Joshua, Makenna, Ryan and Eric.
WHAT THEY’RE SAYING
“I’ve known Jerry since I was 16 years old when he recruited me out of high school. With Jerry, it’s more than just about developing runners, it’s about building character. I’m ecstatic that he has the opportunity to get back into the collegiate scene and mold the next generation of runners.”
– Simon Bairu
Two-time NCAA XC champion at Wisconsin and former Canadian record holder (10,000m)
“Jerry has been my coach and mentor for the last 13 years and I believe what separates him as a coach is his infectious enthusiasm, commitment and energy that he brings to his athletes! The incredible opportunity to lead one of the greatest track and field programs in the nation is not lost on him, and I know he will give his absolute best to the student-athletes and coaching staff at the University of Oregon.”
– Shalane Flanagan
2017 New York City Marathon champion and four-time Olympian
“The University of Oregon has made a fantastic hire. Jerry Schumacher is one of the best track and field coaches in the country. His passion and optimism are contagious. His knowledge, experience and strategic abilities make him a formidable opponent. He is also a great friend whom I have competed against, first as an athlete and then as a coach, for more than three decades. I am excited to have him back in the NCAA. I look forward to facing him and the Ducks for another three decades.”
– Dave Smith
Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at Oklahoma State
“Jerry is the most insightful coach I have come across in my 25+ years in the sport. He aims high and has a tremendous record in meeting those goals. He has an innate ability to get his athletes to the start well-prepared and a keen sense of how they will perform that day. Jerry is also a really good guy who loves the sport and his athletes.”
– Tom Ratcliffe
Director of KIMbia Athletics and 2021 U.S. Olympic Trials qualifier (5,000m)