There is quite a budding rivalry forming between the “Old-Guard” of collegiate track and the “Nouveau Riche” from the Willamette Valley. Legendary coach Pat Henry has been at LSU and is now at Texas A&M and has won 10 outdoor track championships (men’s and women’s) in the last 15 years. He is not happy about the resurgence of the “Men of Oregon” in all track/cross country events and is even testier about the Lady Ducks winning the National Championship of Indoor Track in five out of the last six years (second last year only to Arkansas).
His most recent faux pas occurred at the press conference yesterday in Birmingham, Alabama, on the eve of the NCAA Indoor Track Championships where FishDuck.com Track Correspondent Bruce Nelson was in attendance. The Aggie coach whined about how Oregon does not have a conference indoor championships the week before the national championships like the SEC does, and how it places the other major contenders for the title (all SEC teams – Texas A&M, Florida, Arkansas, and LSU) at a disadvantage.
Oh Geez, what a baby.
Wasn’t this is the same guy who was crying last June about how Oregon has such an advantage for the Outdoor Track Championships by hosting it and winning a rare double national championship as both the women and men of Oregon were crowned?
“I wasn’t a proponent of it being here until the end of my life.”
Of course, he wasn’t saying anything as the head coach when TAMU won the double crown at Hayward in 2010! Oh, no!
The “Old-Guard” doesn’t want to give it up easily.
Doesn’t it remind you of the resistence Oregon had in football to being “accepted” in the top ten on a regular basis? The SEC was crying about our No-Huddle, and they heaped derision on our uniforms (until they adopted both tactics). Now they all know the Oregon brand much-more-than-they-wish.
It is laughable to hear to hear these last two attempts from Henry, as it was from Nick Saban concerning “player safety” to require minimum time between football plays. Head track coach Robert Johnson should take this as quite the compliment - to ruffle the feathers of collegiate track royalty is quite the Duck feather in his cap.
Perhaps the gamesmanship coach Johnson displayed in playing coy about whether he would run Oregon superstar, Edward Cheserek, in the distance medley relay along with the planned 3,000 and 5,000 meter races, annoyed the delicate sensibilities of the seemingly entitled SEC track cabal.
Of course, it could have been how an incredible Oregon women’s contingent of 16 athletes threaten to pull the championship once again from the SEC? Or how the Men of Oregon are slightly favored at the verge of the championship? I think we’re going to hear wailing from the south for a long time as coach Johnson continues to reload each year.
It does add drama to these championships, though, and will spice up the return of Pat Henry and the SEC to Historic Hayward Field this spring for the Outdoor Championships.
Let’s go DUCKS! Beat the SEC! (Especially beat those damn Aggies!)
Charles Fischer (FishDuck)
Top Photo from TAMU Video
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