Women's Cross Country/Track

There’s been very negative information posted recently on a Wesleyan site by many former Wes cross country/track women athletes. My daughter has been accepted at Wes, expecting to run in the fall. Any insights?

Yikes. My D21 is currently fixated on Wesleyan, possibly to the point of applying ED (which may be her only shot). She also does track and would like to do it there, although we haven’t talked to any of the coaches. I don’t know what the rules are for posting links, but can you give me a clue as to where you saw this?

There’s an article on the Wesleying blog.

Holy moly. I hope the school is investigating. If the allegations are true, I would expect to see a new coach there by next year. I would be hesitant to run for this coach now.

Edited to add: I do see now at the end of the Wesleying article that the AD said an investigation is open.

Wesleying is a fantastic example of a student-run, college-wide blog. One of the best in the country.

A coaching change seems pretty likely if this pattern is confirmed. At the very least I’d expect better training and oversight. Two seniors and two juniors on the XC roster is definitely a bad sign. They do have a good assistant, Awad, who could take over.

Well at least it’s out in the open now, which hopefully is a plus for your D. Stuff like this is a widespread problem in women’s XC/distance, and I’m sure there are plenty of other programs with the same issues. At least Wes seems to be addressing it.

This doesn’t seem unusual at all to me. A student who stayed with the program for 4 years writes a letter 2-3 years out of school, signed by a lot of older alums… It’s great if the coach can help with those issues, but some people look for help outside the school’s coach too. Even Tom Brady has a nutritionist. There are hundreds of books and articles about nutrition and running, about building muscle mass.

My daughter didn’t like her coach. The team did have a trainer to tape and treat before and after practices and at games. Many players returned after the summer slow and overweight (hadn’t followed the work out routine) and it really didn’t take a professional to tell them that if they were in better shape they’d have better results and fewer injuries.

@twoinanddone I suspect the recent Mary Cain revelations re: Salazar’s abusive coaching probably contributed to these women coming forward. There’s something of a metoo movement going on in distance running the last few years in which male coaches who have treated their female distance runners abusively around diet and weight loss are finally being outed. It is a totally inappropriate and counterproductive approach to training women, and it does not happen in successful programs. Thankfully, a lot of good coaches, male and female, are becoming more vocal about this. So I don’t necessarily disagree with what you’re saying for most sports. But what most female distance runners need to be told is to eat more, not less. Most of these women are putting in 50+ miles a week year round. It is a horrible sign when any roster of distance runners, HS or college, has only a few older women and a majority of first and second year runners. To me that’s a major red flag.

@politeperson I appreciate your perspective. Hopefully this will be taken seriously and addressed. At minimum, I have good information to give my daughter about what is NOT acceptable from a coach. She’s had wonderful, supportive (male) coaches in high school and I want her to be armed with the knowledge she needs to say no to unreasonable demands.


@twoinanddone I disagree. This was not one person’s letter signed by other alums. 25 women wrote testimonials about their specific situations, and most of them signed their names. Their stories are not pretty.

@lookingwest @ThisNameNotTaken I’ve heard that the coach is now on leave pending conclusion of an investigation. I don’t have first hand knowledge but this is typically the type of thing that results in a coaching change. Hiring season is usually June/July so at worst I’d expect to have a search going on over the summer and a new coach in place by XC season.

@politeperson Thanks for the info. It’s still kind of a black mark that this was an open secret that only got dealt with when the heat was turned up. I suspect situations like this are not unique to Wesleyan, and I wouldn’t be half surprised to see more of them surface, although I would never have heard of this one except for this thread (thanks @lookingwest)…

Edit: on a semi-related note I just came across this site (sorry, no idea how to post a live link) https://trackyack.com/
More edits: apparently it just figures it out. Good on CC.

Thanks for the update. I’m actually astounded that my daughter, recruited by this coach, has had no communication from anyone. We as parents have had no communication from Wesleyan. I understand that personnel matters are confidential, so certainly am not expecting gory details. But to not have any acknowledgement of this situation gives me pause. I expect more from the administration.

They might be under legal advice to not comment.

And…I am not sure who would reach out to you, as your D isn’t a student yet. So the AD wouldn’t have her info, and admissions wouldn’t likely know about the situation with the coach in detail.

You can certainly reach out to the AD though.

They reinstated this coach after the investigation (which quite frankly was extremely disappointing) and the team members wrote a letter demanding his resignation. He’s gone now.