Jeremy Wariner, the man with Michael Johnson’s 400m world record firmly within his sights this year as left long time Coach Clyde Hart.
Hart, the man behind Wariner’s rise to the top had worked with the Texan for the past five years.
The split has come about as a result of a break down in contract negotiations between the two parties over the amount Hart would be paid for his coaching.
Hart said his previous one-year contract paid him a percentage of Wariner’s earnings and that the runner offered him a new deal for less pay.
The better he did, the better the coach would be compensated” under the old deal, Hart said. “If he didn’t do good, I would suffer also, the eight-time American Track and Field Coach of the Year said.
In his time with Hart, Wariner has claimed Olympic and two world titles over 400m as well as improving year on year; two facts that Hart believed did not constitute a pay cut.
When asked if recent events had put a strain on his relationship with his former charge Hart would only comment,
I feel Jeremy will continue to be successful because he has a strong desire to excel and is blessed with tremendous athletic ability. I wish him the very best in his pursuit of Olympic gold.
Wariner has already begun training with new coach Michael Ford, who until recently served as an assistant to Hart.
The move has sparked worry and confusion amongst Wariner’s fans with many expecting to see a downturn in the athlete’s performances this season as a result of the move.
However, Ford has said that Wariner’s training regime will not change in the short term, probably as a result of Ford having worked so closely with Hart over the past eight years,
The training program we will use this year will not differ too much, if at all, from the program used by Coach Hart. I ran for Coach Hart and have been coaching with him for several years, so my training philosophy has been moulded by him.
Wariner will also have the benefit of having Darold Williamson, Sanjay Ayre, and Reggie Witherspoon as training partners.
In response to the large amount of press coverage of the split between Wariner and Hart and the effects it might have on Wariner’s running, Ford said,
Jeremy’s decision to change coaches has generated a large number of comments on the Internet, on television, and in the newspapers. It is viewed as a major change in his training program and many expect this to have a negative effect on his performance. If the change had resulted in changing coaching styles then this would have been a bad decision. But, since my coaching style is very similar to Coach Hart’s, the amount of change is not as great as people are expecting. He will be training on the same facilities he used in the past and will be in a training group that he knows well. This should reduce or eliminate any of the negatives that people from the “it’s not broken …” contingent are expecting or projecting.
Wariner competes in the 200m at tomorrows Sydney Grand Prix before running his first 400m of the season next week at the Melbourne Grand Prix.