By David Monti, @d9monti
(c) 2016 Race Results Weekly, all rights reserved

(30-Dec) — Jerry Schumacher, who quietly turned the Nike-sponsored Bowerman Track Club into one of best middle and long distance training groups in the world, has been voted the FloTrack American Distance Coach of the Year for 2016.  The award, sponsored by T-Mobile and presented for the first time, includes a $10,000 cash prize.

“For the last decade, we’ve seen up close what a struggle it can be to compete at the highest level of track,” said FloSports co-founder and COO, Mark Floreani, through a statement.  “Many professional track coaches don’t have the sponsorships or deals in place where they can devote one hundred percent of their time to their athletes. Our goal with this award is to help deserving coaches continue to pursue their passion and work with the top distance runners in the U.S.”

Schumacher, 46, who previously coached at the University of Wisconsin, topped a distinguished field of candidates which included Alberto Salazar of the Nike Oregon Project, Mark Wetmore and Heather Burroughs of the University of Colorado, Ray Treacy of Providence College, Lee LaBadie of the University of Akron, Drew Wartenburg of the NorCal Distance Project, and Dan Browne of the Army World Class Athlete Program.  Schumacher was selected based on votes cast by both fans and a panel of national media members.

During his 2016 campaign, Schumacher coached seven athletes to Olympic team berths, all of whom finished in the top-11 of their events.  Key achievements by his athletes included an IAAF World Indoor Championships 3000m silver medal for Ryan Hill, a fifth consecutive national title and Olympic silver medal by steeplechaser Evan Jager, a one-two finish at the USA Olympic Trials Marathon by Amy Cragg and Shalane Flanagan, and second and third place finishes at the USA Olympic Trials for steeplechasers Courtney Frerichs and Colleen Quigley.

The self-deprecating Schumacher credited his entire team for the award.

“I’m very appreciative, but it’s not just me,” Schumacher said. “The face of the coach of the year award is really the Bowerman Track Club organization and all of the coaches, staff, athletes, and personnel that make the whole thing go round. That’s really who wins this whole thing.”

Background PHOTO: Bowerman Track Club coach Jerry Schumacher in New York City after the 2015 NYRR Millrose Games (photo by Jane Monti for Race Results Weekly)