“Where there is smoke, there is a fire,” is a metaphor originally credited to John Heywood’s Proverbs (1546): “There is no fyre without smoke.”

So, it came to pass that the unkept, and covert recruitment of Chris Solinsky by head coach Jerry Schumacher at the University of Oregon was true; the smoke was billowing.

Solinsky, the former American record holder in the 10,000 metre event was officially hired by the University of Oregon. The 38-year-old joins as an assistant coach for the Ducks as per an announcement by Schumacher. Solinsky makes the move to Eugene after five seasons as an assistant coach at the University of Florida. 

Solinsky and Schumacher have a history

The former was a five-time NCAA champion under the latter while at the University of Wisconsin from 2003 to 2007. Solinsky enjoyed great success with Schumacher as a Badger and later followed him to the Nike Bowerman Track Club. In 2014 the father of two became an assistant coach at the College of William & Mary. 

“I’m incredibly excited to have Chris join our team,” said Schumacher. “Having coached him for over a decade, I know him to be one of the most driven and passionate athletes I’ve worked with and his work ethic is second to none. Chris has brought those attributes to coaching and has had tremendous success working with student-athletes at the University of Florida. He will be an awesome addition to our staff.” 

During the 2022 cross country season, Solinsky coached Florida’s Parker Valby to second place at the NCAA Championships in Stillwater, Okla. Valby was also the South Region and SEC cross-country champion during the campaign and the NCAA runner-up at 5,000 metres in 2022. 

Solinsky also coached two of his athletes, Imogen Barrett and Gabrielle Wilkinson, who went on to the finals in the 800m. 

In July 2022, the University of Oregon announced the hiring of Schumacher as head Cross Country and Track and Field Coach, replacing Robert Johnson. Schumacher had spent 15 years with Nike. 

The University of Oregon Ducks has a long history of success in the NCAA. With Schumacher’s ability to surround himself with talent, his recruiting strength, and the Ducks’ long reputation, it was an attractive opportunity.

The proverb applies, it takes a village is the English equivalent of the many African editions who have long said, “a child does not grow up in just one home, it takes a village.”

From Badgers to Ducks, the dynamic duo may just run the legs off the NCAA competition to a few titles. Lookout Razorback John McDonell.

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