Japan men’s volleyball team appoints American coach Sato

Kyodo

The Japan Volleyball Association said Monday that American Gary Sato has been appointed head coach of the men’s national team as successor to Tatsuya Ueta.

The 58-year-old Sato, a former assistant coach for the U.S. men’s team, will be the first foreign coach to take the reins in either men’s or women’s volleyball in Japan. He will give a press conference on Tuesday.

The term of Sato’s contract and his coaching staff will be determined at a later date.

Japan Volleyball Association president Taizaburo Nakano said a fundamental change was in order after the departure of Ueta, whose team failed to secure a berth for the London Games.

“We have to forget the glory of the past and start over fresh,” Nakano said. “I think that a foreigner who can look at Japan in an objective way will be able to courageously execute a new strategy.”

Sato was involved with the U.S. men’s team as a coach for many years and contributed in its gold medal win at the 1988 Seoul Olympics and the team’s bronze medal finish at the 1992 Barcelona Games. He was also an assistant when the U.S. finished tied for fifth in London last year.