The Austin Chronicle

UT Coaches Represent in Beijing

By Lee Nichols, August 8, 2008, Sports

Eighteen current or former Longhorns across five different sports will represent the United States in the Beijing Olympics, and a smattering of others will represent other nations. Is it something in the water?

No, it's something more obvious – the coaching. UT track and field coach Bubba Thornton and swimming coach Eddie Reese are the head coaches for the U.S. in Beijing in their respective sports, and basketball coach Gail Goestenkors and diving coach Matt Scoggin will be assistants.

Texas track assistant coach Mario Sategna won't be on the official U.S. staff, but he will be in Beijing to help guide two of the athletes he groomed at UT – high jumper Andra Manson and decathlete Trey Hardee.

"These are the first two guys I've had in the Olympics," says Sategna, himself a former NCAA decathlon champ for Louisiana State who participated in the 1996 Olympic Trials. "As a coach, first and foremost, I've had these guys in college and shared in their ups and downs, and I knew they had the potential to make it to the next level, and I'm excited they made it. The hardest thing is to make the U.S. team, especially in their events. It's a neat thing."

Watching them in Eugene was exciting but not necessarily nerve-racking. Sategna was highly confident in his young charges' abilities.

"Those guys are good enough that if they didn't make it, it would have been a disappointment. Just seeing them do what they're capable of was the biggest thing. ... I knew they were good enough."

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