On January 26, 1996, Dave Schultz, Olympic gold medal winner and wrestling golden boy, was shot three times by du Pont family heir John E. du Pont at the famed Foxcatcher Farms estate in Pennsylvania. After the murder there was a tense standoff when du Pont barricaded himself in his home for two days before he was finally captured. Foxcatcher is gold medal winner Mark Schultz's memoir, revealing what made him and his brother champion and what brought them to Foxcatcher Farms. It's a vivid portrait of the complex relationship he and his brother had with du Pont, a man whose catastrophic break from reality led to tragedy. No one knows the inside story of what went on behind the scenes at Foxcatcher Farms -- and inside John du Pont's head -- better than Mark Schultz. Here is an excerpt.


January 26, 1996

"Hi, Coach!"

Dave smiled and waved as he stepped toward John du Pont's silver Lincoln Town Car coming to a stop in his driveway, "P.U. Kids" jotted in the palm of Dave’s right hand. It was my brother's day to pick up his two kids from school, and he had just finished repairing his car radio with a few minutes to spare.

Du Pont, rolling down his window, didn't return the greeting.

“You got a problem with me?” du Pont asked.

He didn't give Dave a chance to answer.

The first hollow-point bullet from du Pont's .44 Magnum revolver struck Dave's elbow -- perhaps he had raised his arms to cover himself -- and continued its spiraling path through his heart and into his lungs.

Dave cried out in pain and lunged forward, apparently hoping he could wrestle the gun away.

Right arm still extended, du Pont squeezed the trigger again. The second bullet entered Dave’s stomach and did not stop until it had exited through his back, pierced through the back window of Dave’s car, and shattered the front windshield.

Dave crumpled face-first onto the snow-covered driveway. His wife, who had been inside the house, started toward the front door after the first shot.

"John, stop!" Nancy shouted.

John, stepping out of his car, turned his gun toward her. She ducked back inside. John aimed the gun back at Dave as he crawled toward his car, a trail of red marking his path in the snow. The bastard shot my dying brother in the back.


My office phone rang. It was just another afternoon in the middle of wrestling season, spent opening mail and answering phone calls until my team's practice would begin shortly.

Until my dad called.

"Du Pont shot Dave and killed him."

I didn't hang up the phone; I threw it and screamed, grabbed the papers in front of me, and slung them against the wall. Notebooks and pens and anything else within reach followed. So did a clock and awards sitting on the file cabinet near my desk. I cursed loud enough for the highest heavens to hear.

Alone, I sat in the corner and sobbed for an hour until my assistant coach opened the door. I told him about my dad’s call, and he sat down and wept with me.

By that point, John du Pont -- heir to the du Pont family fortune and supposed best friend of amateur wrestling in the United States -- had taken refuge in his sprawling mansion. Police swarmed to the Foxcatcher Farm estate they knew so well. Some had trained at du Pont’s shooting range, which he had opened up to them. Some wore bulletproof vests and communicated on radios he had purchased for them.

Du Pont, ever taking advantage of his reputation as a philanthropist, had been hailed as a generous giver for all of his adult life.

But I knew better. I knew that he gave in order to take. John du Pont gave me the means to wrestle and then took my wrestling career from me. Now he had taken my brother from me.

The police, settling in for what would be a forty-eight-hour standoff, sent word warning me, even though I was more than two thousand miles from the scene, to stay away.

They were right to call me. I would have made one more trip to the farm if I had believed I had a chance of getting to John. And I would have killed him.

-- Foxcatcher, by Mark Schultz with Dave Thomas. Copyright (c) 2014 by Mark Schultz and Dave Thomas. Published by Dutton Books. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. It is available for purchase from the publisher, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and iTunes. Follow Mark Schultz on Twitter @MarkSchultzy.

Related Story: Steve Almond Talks About Writing 'Against Football'