NORMAN, Okla. -- Oklahoma track and field coach Jim VanHootegem continued to round out his coaching staff this week, announcing the addition of John Dagata on Thursday. Dagata will join the Sooners as the Director of Operations and Assistant Coach in charge of vertical jumps and combined events. He arrives in Norman after successful stints with Cal, Iowa State, UC Santa Barbara and United Kingdom Athletics.
"Once I was given the opportunity to lead the OU program, I knew Coach Dagata was going to be the first person I called," VanHootegem said. "John understands our mission and will provide the thrust to accomplish it. He will also coordinate our recruiting efforts so we are organized in our efforts to attract the best student-athletes to OU. I am very thankful John is joining the Sooner family."
Dagata's most recent stop was at Cal, where he 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 oversee a team that sent 29 individuals and a pair of relays to NCAA regional competition in 2013. Dagata also helped land the nation's top five recruiting class nationally in 2012.
"John is on a short list of coaches in the NCAA who possess equally impressive coaching and administrative skills," VanHootegem said. "He is a coach first and is highly knowledgeable with a consistent pattern of development of the athletes under his tutelage. At the same time, he is a great problem-solver and a doer, so I will rely heavily on him as my `right-hand man.'"
Prior to his time at Cal, 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 was the throws coach for the Great Britain IAAF World Junior Championships team that earned eight medals.
Dagata also boasts experience in the Big 12 conference 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, 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.
Dagata is a USATF Level II coach and is on track to become Level III certified in August. He is also a UK Athletics Level 4 coach and is in the process of becoming an IAAF Level 5 Throws coach.
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, 2000-01-weight throw). He also achieved an Olympic B standard in the hammer in 2004. As a football player, Dagata was also named the Matadors' freshman of the year in 1997.
Dagata graduated from Cal State Northridge in 2000 with a cum laude degree in sociology.