John Dagata joined the Sooners as the director of operations and assistant coach in charge of vertical jumps and combined events in July 2013. He arrived in Norman after successful stints with California, Iowa State, UC Santa Barbara and United Kingdom Athletics.
After a year without multi-event entries, his charges were key to the Sooner efforts in his second year. Each of his freshman student-athletes scored in both indoor and outdoor Big 12 Championship in 2015. Makayla Stephens finished second in the outdoor heptathlon and advanced to the NCAA West Prelims in the high jump. Thomas Cheval finished fourth in the decathlon while Steven Jazdyk placed eighth respectively. Those performances followed strong showings at the Big 12 Indoor. Stephens finished third in the pentathlon at the Big 12 while Cheval took third and Jazdyk eighth in the heptathlon.
His student-athletes have also taken care of business in the classroom as three have earned All-Academic honors from the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Association in the last two years.
Dagata came to OU from the University of California where he had served as the director of operations and throws coach for two seasons. During that time, he played a large part in both the program's coaching and recruiting efforts, helping coach a team that sent 29 individuals and a pair of relays to NCAA regional competition in 2013. Dagata also helped land one of the nation's top five recruiting class nationally in 2012.
Dagata worked as the head of coaching for Welsh Athletics from 2009-11. During that span, he also served as head coach for the Great Britain World University Games track and field team in 2011. Under Dagata's direction, the squad captured three of the country's five medals in Shenzhen, China. He led a Welsh Commonwealth Games team that saw all 22 of its competitors advance to the finals in New Delhi, India. Dagata also was the throws coach for the Great Britain IAAF World Junior Championships team that earned eight medals.
Dagata was not a newcomer to the Big 12 after spending two years as the throws coach at Iowa State from 2008-09. Under his guidance, the Cyclones saw the emergence of Zac Brouillette, a 2009 NCAA qualifier and school-record holder in the hammer and weight throw, and Laishema Hampton, a member of the 2009 USA Junior Pan American team.
From 2001-07, Dagata served as the throws, jumps and multi-events coach at UC Santa Barbara, guiding hammer throwers Amy Haapanen and Eugene Bradley to All-America honors. Under his leadership, his pupils earned a total of eight Big West Conference individual championships and set seven school records and multiple Big West Conference records. UC Santa Barbara competitors qualified for the NCAA Championships nine times and reached the NCAA regionals on 46 occasions. His work was instrumental in guiding UCSB to the program's first Big West team title in 2005.
A two-sport standout during his undergraduate years at Cal State Northridge, Dagata was a member of the Matadors' football and track and field teams. He was the track and field team captain in 2001 and a four-time All-Big Sky Conference selection (1999-hammer, 2001-discus, 2000, 2001-weight throw). He also achieved an Olympic B standard in the hammer in 2004. As a football player, Dagata was named the Matadors' freshman of the year in 1997.
Dagata graduated from Cal State Northridge in 2000 with a cum laude degree in sociology.