Mario Sategna, a longtime assistant coach for Texas men’s Track and Field, was named the head of Texas’ newly formed combined track and field program
“Mario is a great fit as we make the transition to combine our men’s and women’s programs” said men's athletics director Deloss Dodds on the decision. “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.”
Satenga quickly announced the program hired a new associate head coach in Tonja Buford-Bailey, who specializes in sprint, hurdles and relays. Sategna spoke highly of Buford-Bailey and asserts that she should be able to help both sprint teams be in position to compete for the top spot late at the NCAA Championships.
“She is a proven winner at the highest level. She is a former Olympic medalist in the hurdles as well as a World Championship team member,” Sategna said. “She is going to come in here and do some wonderful things. It will be great to build upon the strengths of Texas on the men’s and women’s side. I am very excited.”
With Sategna on the coaching staff, the Longhorns have finished in the top 10 in the NCAA indoor or outdoor championships 13 times. In the 2013 Outdoor Championship, two players he helped coach in field events won national titles, bringing his coaching total to 11 NCAA titles between seven athletes since 2003-2004.
The men’s team finished No. 3 in 2008, its highest finish ever, and in 2006 the outdoor team came in at No. 3. Sategna said he realized that after hiring the coach for sprints, continuing Texas’ high reputation in distance runs will be of the utmost importance if the Longhorns are to make a run at a team title.
“My number one thing that I wanted to do is come in and continue to build upon the strengths we’ve had and the distance has been a mainstay,” Sategna said. “We don’t ever want to get away from the things that made us great. We just need to add to those so that we can push for the limit and light the tower.”
Sategna will try to build off of a No. 6 finish at the men’s outdoor NCAA Championship and No. 15 finish at the women’s outdoor NCAA Championships and bounce back from a disappointing finish in the indoor championships with the 2014 NCAA Track and Field season beginning in September.