Mark Wetmore Released From University Of Colorado After Nearly 30 Years As Head Coach

The announcement comes after investigation on the use of body composition analysis involving nearly 100 athletes


Mark Wetmore, a stalwart in the world of distance running, will not have his contract renewed by the University of Colorado once it expires at the end of this month. Heather Burroughs, the associate head coach, is also departing, along with assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Shaun Wicen, as communicated in an email to the CU cross country and track teams.

In a statement, University of Colorado athletic director Rick George acknowledged Wetmore’s significant contributions, stating, “In over 30 years, Mark Wetmore has built one of the country’s premier cross country programs and is an institution within the cross country and track & field communities. At this point, however, I felt it was time for a new era of leadership for our programs. I wish Mark the best and thank him for his longtime service to CU Athletics.”

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The decision follows a 2023 investigation into the program’s use of body composition analysis, initially prompted by complaints from 14 athletes. 

The review, carried out by the University of Colorado’s audit department and an external attorney, involved interviews with nearly 50 former and current athletes and a dozen staff members.

The findings highlighted that the body composition analysis negatively impacted many athletes, creating an unhealthy environment, particularly for the women’s team. Concerns were raised about risks such as low bone density, eating disorders, and other health issues.

Prior to the investigation, an internal review of 48 current student-athletes had led to new policies and unspecified personnel actions. Additional reports by Runner’s World indicate mixed experiences among athletes, with some alumni, like Olympians Kara Goucher and Jenny Simpson, defending Wetmore and Burroughs. However, others, including former athlete Lesley Higgins and several recent team members, reported pressure to maintain low body fat and achieve certain body composition scores, with coaches frequently commenting on these results.

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Wetmore, who will turn 71 on June 29, began coaching at CU in 1993 and became head coach in 1995. Burroughs, a former three-time All-American at CU, joined the coaching staff in 2005. Together, they led CU to eight national cross-country team titles and produced numerous NCAA individual champions and Olympians.

Despite past successes, recent performance has been inconsistent. At the 2024 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, CU had five individual athletes and a women’s relay team compete, with notable performances from Bailey Hertenstein and Ella Baran.

However, other athletes did not advance to the finals or achieve top finishes. Similarly, results at the 2024 NCAA Indoor Championships and the 2023 NCAA Cross Country Championships were mixed.

Several athletes have left the program recently, including Karrie Baloga, a national high school cross-country champion who transferred to Northern Arizona University, and Hannah Miniutti, who stepped away from the sport for her health.

A nationwide search for a new head coach will begin immediately.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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