Former Texas track and field coach Mario Sategna has been hired as an assistant coach at Arkansas. (LAURA SKELDING / AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Track & Field

Texas track coach Mario Sategna returns from nearly three-month personal leave

With scant details released, track coach said he needed to 'take a step back for my own self-improvement'

Posted January 11th, 2017

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Texas track coach Mario Sategna, who took a personal leave of absence on Sept. 12, has returned to active duty, the university announced.

Sategna participated in a team meeting on Wednesday, and the Longhorns’ indoor track and field season begins on Friday at the Texas A&M Team Invitational.

In a statement, Sategna said he needed to “take a step back for my own self-improvement.”

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DES MOINES, IA - JUNE 22: Coach Mario Sategna talks with Trey Hardee (not pitcured) on day three of the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium on June 22, 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Coach Mario Sategna talks with Trey Hardee (not pictured) on day three of the 2013 USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium on June 22, 2013 in Des Moines, Iowa. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

“I’ve had the opportunity over these last four months to transform my life in so many different facets, and I’m excited to embark upon this next chapter and continue to be a part of The University of Texas,” he added.

The university has not commented about the specifics surrounding Sategna’s absence. When Sategna first went on leave, UT offered no timetable for his return. In mid-October, it was discovered that Sategna was the subject of an ethics and misconduct investigation.

School officials blocked the release of Sategna’s personnel file and other pertinent documents, referring the American-Statesman’s open records request to the state attorney general for a final decision.

Practically no information was announced about Sategna’s return, either. In a statement, UT athletic directors Mike Perrin and Chris Plonsky said the university “investigated the concerns that were brought to our attention.”

“They all have been addressed by coach Sategna and appropriate responsive measures have been put in place,” the joint statement said. “Coach Sategna will be responsible for meeting the University’s requirements going forward, which he has agreed to do.”

Tonja Buford-Bailey and Ty Sevin had been named co-head coaches in Sategna’s absence.

“I’m very thankful to my wife, my children and our extended family, and for the outpouring of support I received during my time away,” Sategna said. “A lot of people have helped me over these four months, and I’m extremely appreciative of that.

“With the indoor season upon us, I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running,” he added. “We are so blessed to have a tremendous staff in place, and with Tonja and Ty leadership, our coaches have done a phenomenal job preparing and managing our student-athletes and our program.

Under Sategna, the Longhorns swept the men’s and women’s Big 12 indoor championships in 2015. The women won it again in 2016 and the men finished second. Sategna was an assistant coach at UT for 10 years before becoming the head coach in June 2013.

“We have so many tremendous competitors and truly gifted, well-rounded student-athletes who are a part of this program,” Sategna said, “and I’m thrilled to be back working with them and look forward to seeing them flourish this season and beyond.”

Contact Brian Davis at 512-445-3957. Email bdavis@statesman.com.

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