Andy Powell, the best distance coach in the nation for the past decade, left Oregon to go to Washington. From a career standpoint, the move was understandable. Robert Johnson, the Director of Programs for Oregon, wasn't leaving Eugene anytime soon. His multiple national titles essentially made him a Duck for as long as he wants to be. Powell wasn't going to be promoted for the foreseeable future. When Washington came calling with a pay increase and positions for him and his wife, it's hard to see why anyone would turn down the offer.
With a new coaching contract now inked and dried, it didn't take long for transfer speculations to take place. Would anyone follow Powell to Seattle? If so, who? Could Ben Thomas be persuasive enough to keep his promising Oregon core together?
Just when you thought the Ducks roster was set in stone, a surprise announcement was made. High school distance star Brodey Hasty had secured a release from his national letter of intent and decided to attend Northern Arizona instead. The move was a big one, especially when you consider that Hasty hadn't even begun his collegiate career yet. It's probably fair to assume that Powell played a huge role in his decision to commit to Oregon.
With Hastey now gone, those ridiculous rumors you saw online suddenly seemed valid. Was the superstar recruit just one of many future departures?
Not even a week later, our suspicions were confirmed.
Earlier today, Chris Hansen of the The Register-Guard reported that Mick Stanovsek and Tanner Anderson would be transferring out of Oregon. Stanovsek will follow Powell to Washington while Anderson has yet to announce his destination.
As shocking as the initial announcement may be, you have to acknowledge why Mick would want to follow his coach. Powell was, after all, the one who gave him a chance to walk-on at Oregon. Now, Stanovsek has become a 3:57 miler with All-American potential. You can't blame him for wanting to ensure that he will continue to progress and succeed.
Not only that, but Stanovsek can now be seen as "the man" and clear leader among his new Husky teammates. For our basketball fans out there, he is the Kyrie Irving of collegiate track and field (although as an Ohio native, I'm not sure if he would appreciate that).
Tanner Anderson was a bit more surprising. He only had one year of eligibility left, was mentoring Cooper Teare, and had the opportunity to be part of a cross country squad with podium potential. Now we are left with the obvious question of where he will go next. Washington is certainly in the cards, but maybe he'll decide to look for a team that could fight for a podium spot or even national title.
Chris Hansen also noted that Oregon no longer lists the Hoey brothers (Jaxson or Josh) on the 2018 cross country roster. If the Hoey brothers are actually moving out of Eugene, it comes as both a surprise and an expectation. During their time in Pennsylvania, Jaxson went to two different high school schools and later transferred from Penn State to Oregon after his freshman year. Josh attended three different high schools and had committed to run with his brother at Oregon earlier this year.
Ironically, Ben Thomas hosted Josh for an official visit last year when he was at Virginia Tech. Simply put, those two are very familiar with each other.
It's clear that change doesn't phase the Hoey's. They'll adapt to the circumstances they are given and continue to go about their business. If the brothers did, in fact, transfer out of the program, it will be a huge blow to Oregon's future. Josh was the high school national indoor record holder in the 800 with a 1:47 personal best. Meanwhile, Jaxson took advantage of a healthy indoor season while at Oregon, securing PR's of 2:27 (1k) and 4:04 (mile). If Josh did leave, Oregon will have effectively brought in zero distance recruits for the first time in program history (not including walk-ons).
There are still a lot of questions to be answered. Where will Anderson and the Hoey's end up? Will the brothers stay together? Will Washington continue to benefit from Oregon's roster collapse? How will Ben Thomas handle the loss of five Ducks in six days? Could we see even more names transfer out Eugene?
We thought this show was over after Powell had signed his contract. That, however, couldn't have been further from the truth. On the contrary, the show is only at intermission and we're locked into our seats waiting to see what happens next...