It is seventh time--and second year in a row--that a Trojan has been National Player of the Year.
Trojans have been in 2 of past 3 NCAA Final Fours.
USC senior plays key role for U.S.
Gary Sato, an assistant coach on 3 U.S. Olympic teams, is in his first year as an assistant coach with the USC men's volleyball team.
Sato, 61, was an assistant with the U.S. Men’s National team from 1984 to 1988, in 1992 and from 2009 to 2012, including squads that won a gold medal at the 1988 Olympics, a bronze at the 1992 Games and placed fifth in 2012. He also assisted with U.S. men’s teams that won the 1986 FIVB World Championship and the 1987 Pan American Games and captured a silver medal at the 2012 FIVB World League. He was the head coach for the U.S. men’s squad that won gold at the 1985 FIVB World Cup, where he was named the tourney’s Most Valuable Coach.
He spent 2013 as the head coach of the Japan men’s national team.
Sato also was the head coach for the U.S. Beach National men’s (silver medal) and women’s teams at the 2007 Pan Am Games, as well as for Team Paul Mitchell in the Bud Light Pro Beach Volleyball League.
He was the head coach of the U.S. Boys’ Youth National team that won silver at the 2010 NORCECA Boys’ Youth Continental Championship.
He was the head coach of Pepperdine’s women’s team for 4 years (1979-82), leading the Waves into the post-season 3 times (his 1979 squad finished ninth in the national rankings). He also was an assistant coach with the Pepperdine men’s teams that won NCAA championships in 1978 and 2005.
Additionally, he was the head coach for the Santa Monica Beach Volleyball Club, the technical director for the Sinjin Smith Volleyball Academy and a clinician at the Los Angeles Volleyball Academy. He is the founder of the Gary Sato Volleyball Clinics/Grow the Game and president of the Association of Beach Volleyball Coaches.
Sato played volleyball at Santa Monica (Calif.) High and Santa Monica College before moving on to UC Santa Barbara, where he was an All-American outside hitter. He was inducted into the International Volleyball Hall of Fame, Santa Monica High School Hall of Fame, Pepperdine Athletic Hall of Fame, California Community Colleges Sports Hall of Fame and Santa Monica College Sports Hall of Fame.
Sato graduated with a bachelor’s degree in kinesiology in 1978 from Pepperdine and as a Doctor of Chiropractic from the Southern California University of Health Sciences in 1992. He has his own practice, Sato Chiropractic.
Sato is a member of the “First Family of Volleyball.” Brother Eric won an Olympic gold medal with the U.S. men in 1988 and a bronze in 1992 (Gary was an assistant with those teams). Sister Liane won an Olympic bronze medal with the U.S. women in 1992 and also played on the 1988 Olympic team. Brothers Scott (San Diego State) and Glenn (Loyola Marymount) both played college volleyball and Glenn also was an assistant coach at USC from 1990 to 1996 (the Trojans won the 1990 NCAA title). Their mother, Elissa, was a longtime fixture at local volleyball matches as a scorekeeper, usually accompanied by their late father, Richard.
Sato was born on Jan. 2, 1955. He has 3 children: Andrew (21), a junior libero at Long Beach State, Katie (19), a sophomore libero at Cal State Northridge, and Malia (16).