AUSTIN, Texas — The University of Texas didn’t have to look far to find a new leader for its men’s and women’s track and field teams, which are being combined into one program.
Mario Sategna (suh-TANE-yuh), who has served as the associate head coach for the men’s team, has been named head coach of the newly-formed Texas track and field program effective immediately, men’s director of athletics DeLoss Dodds and women’s athletics director Chris Plonsky announced Thursday. Sategna brings a unique set of credentials to the position. He was a National Champion student-athlete and has coached numerous NCAA Champions and Olympians.
Sategna, one of the most respected field event coaches in the nation, has spent the last 10 seasons under retiring head men’s coach Bubba Thornton, helping the Longhorns to finish among the top 10 at either the NCAA indoor or outdoor meets 13 times, including a sixth-place showing earlier this month at the NCAA Outdoor Championships. Two of the athletes he tutored in field events – Ryan Crouser (shot put) and Johannes Hock (decathlon) – captured national titles.
“I’m extremely excited and truly humbled to be the head coach of the first combined men’s and women’s track and field program at The University of Texas,” Sategna said. “I would like to thank my wife, Dahlia, and our three children for their continued support. I would also like to thank DeLoss and Chris, and the rest of the athletics leadership team for placing their trust in me as we move forward during this historic period. I hope to build on the strengths of both teams and improve what already are two of the best programs in the nation.”
Since joining UT at the start of the 2003-04 season, Sategna has helped coach seven field event athletes (Crouser, Hock, Marquise Goodwin, Trey Hardee, Donovan Kilmartin, Andra Manson and Maston Wallace) to 11 NCAA titles. That group is among 21 of his athletes to earn 65 All-America honors.
Hardee and Goodwin both reached the 2012 Summer Olympics under the direction of Sategna. Hardee captured the silver medal in the decathlon, and Goodwin, a two-time NCAA champion, was 10th in the long jump.
“Mario is a great fit as we make the transition to combine our men’s and women’s programs,” Dodds said. “This is not a hire which was made in a couple of days. We’ve known the opportunity to combine the two programs has existed for some time. We compiled a comprehensive list of potential candidates and after considering them all, are convinced Mario is the best choice for The University of Texas. He presented a great plan for the program going forward, is clearly very excited about the opportunity and is the right person for the job.”
A native of Bloomfield, N.M., who won the 1995 NCAA decathlon title at LSU, Sategna has been on staff for seven Big 12 team titles, and his field event athletes have captured 35 conference crowns (16 indoor and 19 outdoor).
“He has been one of the most accomplished coaches in the nation for a number of years and a key reason in the success of our men’s program,” Dodds said. “Mario is respected not only among his peers, but also with the student-athletes on both our men’s and women’s teams.”
Plonsky said, “We believe Mario is a great leader who will provide an effective transition for our student-athletes on both teams.”
“We also want to publicly thank Rose Brimmer for her leadership as interim head coach in the final year of our separate women’s track and field program,” Plonsky added. “A candidate for the head coaching vacancy, Rose was offered the associate head coaching position and respectfully declined that opportunity. Rose took on an incredible challenge in January and did a great job with our team (3.3 team GPA in the spring semester, 16 All-Americans indoors and 16 All-Americans outdoors). She is a consummate educator and mentor and is leaving coaching at Texas a winner. Rose has been a great representative of UT since arriving here in 2004 as an assistant. We appreciate her service to our university and our student-athletes.”
Sategna came to Texas from the University of Minnesota, where he was the men’s assistant coach for four years (1999-2003). He coached student-athletes to four Big Ten individual crowns, two All-America honors and eight school records.
Before his tenure at Minnesota, Sategna served as an assistant coach in charge of throws at Wichita State (1998-99), a physical education teacher and track and field coach at Albuquerque (N.M.) Academy in 1997-98, and a volunteer assistant track and field coach at LSU in 1996-97. He was a three-time All-America decathlete for the Tigers and still holds the school record (8,172 points), set during his national title performance in 1995.