Mario Sategna returns to Texas track and field program

Mario Sategna
Mario Sategna will be part of Team USA staff in Track and Field for Rio 2016. (KXAN Photo/Alicia Inns)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Texas track and field head coach Mario Sategna is back with the program after a nearly fourth-month leave of absence while the university launched an investigation into alleged misconduct.

“The university investigated the concerns that were brought to our attention,” both men’s athletic director Mike Perrin and women’s athletic director Chris Plonsky said in a joint statement. “They have all been addressed by Coach Satenga and appropriate responsive measures have been put in place.”

The investigation was launched in October of last year. No details were given as to the specific nature of the investigation, other than to say it was an “ongoing compliance investigation involving personnel matters being conducted by the university’s legal affairs office” and the athletic department, according to the Associated Press.

“I had some things personally going on in my life that I needed to address, and now I’m ready to get back to work,” Sategna said in a statement released by the university. “I’m extremely thankful for the support I received from so many people, starting with Mike [Perrin] and Chris [Plonsky].”

Sategna was named head coach of both the Men’s and Women’s programs in June 2013, replacing both Bubba Thornton and Bev Kearney, after a 10-year stint as an assistant coach with the Longhorns.

Kearney resigned as head coach of the women’s program earlier that month after it had been revealed that she had an “intimate relationship” with a student-athlete.

“It was important to me and my position at the Unviersity that I take a step back for my own self-improvement,” Satenga said. “I’ve had the opportunity over these last four months to transform my life in so many different facets, and I’m excited to embark upon this next chapter and continue to be a part of the University of Texas.”

In his absence, assistant coach Tonja Buford-Bailey had served as Texas’ interim coach. The men’s team, ranked seventh in the USTFCCCA preseason poll, and the women, ranked fifth, open their indoor seasons Saturday in College Station at the Texas A&M Team Invitational.

“With the indoor season upon, I’m looking forward to hitting the ground running,” Satenga said. “We are so blessed to have a tremendous staff in place and with Tonja [Buford-Baily] and Ty [Sevin’s] leadership, our coaches have done a phenomenal job preparing and managing our student-athletes and our program.”

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