Sunday, February 8, 2009

Too Many Cooks?

After a week of Shalane Flanagan giving her account of things to various media outlets, her former coach John Cook weighed in with his side:

"[[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."

Perhaps I tend to give the coach the benefit of the doubt in a situation such as this, but I just respect Cook more than Flanagan/Edwards here. Edwards is taking on the appearance of 'pageant/little league parent,' with Flanagan also firing her agent recently and giving that job to Edwards.  Good luck to them if they believe that all there is to coaching is running an athlete through a certain pattern of particular workouts.  I do not see any self-respecting coach caring to work with Flanagan for the marathon with rip-off artist Edwards in the picture and even Cook would likely make a better coach for the marathon than Edwards might.


  1. If I was married to Flanagan, I would make her my job for sure. Hopefully she would do the same for me.

  2. Understandable, yet if you were Andrew Kastor but had no massage training or experience, would you observe her massages for a year and then fire the massage therapist and take over? Or would you head to massage school for training and get experience by working on many paying customers first? Similarly, would you believe you could coach football successfully just from watching games and practices for a year? It is natural to want to do all you can to support your s.o.'s passion, but in order to help her to greatest success you have to know your limits and go acquire the appropriate skill set and training to handle the jobs you want to do. Being an agent for a distance runner is a whole lot easier than coaching one -- a pro runner once told me that most pro runners should not need to hire an agent, that it is a waste of money.