Assistant Coach (throws)
Saatara has coached All-American Peter Simon throughout his career at Cal. Simon won the Pac-12 Championship in the shot put in 2017. Simon also has appeared at three straight NCAA Outdoor Championships and took seventh in 2017. Simon finished his career with three All-American honors. McKay Johnson had a big sophomore season in 2018 as he was a first-team All-American in the shot put during indoor season before qualifying for the NCAA Outdoor Championship in both the discus and the shot put. Johnson took second in both events at the Pac-12 Championship as the throwers accounted for 51 points at the 2018 conference championship.
Since Saatara joined the Bears, his student-athletes have notched
23 (10 men, 13 women) appearances on the school's all-time
outdoor top-10 list. He has also coached five USTFCCCA All-American
performances in his first four years with the Bears. In addition to
Johnson's freshman record, Saatara also oversaw four school
records; Johnson's (2018, indoor shot put), Chimoa
Amaechi's (2014, weight throw), Chrissy Glasmann (2018, javelin) and
Camryn Rogers (2018, hammer throw).
Saatara also coached Rogers to the 2018 U-20 World Championship in the hammer throw in Finland. This was the first World Championship at any level for a member of the Cal track & field program and the first throwing gold medal for Canada at any level.
Saatara came to Berkeley after spending three seasons at Michigan where he supervised all field events for the men’s team and specialized in the throws. Under his direction, the Michigan men set seven school records in the indoor and outdoor shot put, weight throw, hammer throw and the decathlon. In addition they earned four All-Big Ten Honors in Indoor and Outdoor conference championships.
Prior to moving to Michigan, Saatara spent eight seasons at Northern Arizona, helping the Lumberjacks to 12 Big Sky Conference men’s and women’s team championships. He has coached over 20 Big Sky individual champions, and multiple school record holders in the throws. During his career he has coached a multitude of student athletes who have competed at the NCAA Regional and National Championships including six NCAA All Americans and two NCAA Academic All American awardees.
Saatara has coached and consulted seven Olympians. He has also coached national and international level athletes who have set national and international records. Athletes under his care have competed in the Indoor and Outdoor World Championships, USATF National Championships and Olympic Trials, Asian Games and Championships, and CAC Games. He was also retained as a consultant for several national track and field federations and world and Olympic medalists. One of his premier athletes is Golden Bear shot putter Amin Nikfar, whom he has coached since 2006.
Saatara previous served as interim head coach at his alma mater, Cal State Los Angeles. He is a former All-American at CSULA where he finished second in the hammer at the 1995 NCAA Division II Championships. Saatara holds several national and international coaching certifications and diplomas including the IAAF Level V Coach (With Distinction), USA Track & Field Level II and III-Throws. He has been a clinician and presenter for the USTFCCCA and other national and international coaching organizations. He lives with his wife Diane in Vallejo, Calif.
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