Saunders Hatta to coach 2003 U S Women s World Team

By Gary Abbott | May 21, 2003, 12 a.m. (ET)
USA Wrestling has named its head and assistant coaches for the 2003 U.S. Women's World Team: head coach Townsend Saunders of Phoenix, Ariz. and assistant coach Tadaaki Hatta of Elyria, Ohio. The U.S. Women's World Team will compete at the 2003 Freestyle World Championships, to be held alongside the men's freestyle event, set for New York City, Sept. 12-14. The U.S. team will be determined at the 2003 World Team Trials in Indianapolis, Ind., June 20-22. "I was there when the U.S. women won the team title in 1999," said Saunders. "We have a team now that is capable of winning the World Championships. The thing is to be ready to perform when the time comes. All of our athletes are fully capable of winning medals." Saunders serves as a club coach for the Sunkist Kids, the nation's most successful wrestling club, since his competitive career ended in 1997. He is also the club's Executive Director. He has also been the assistant wrestling coach at Arizona State Univ., a Div. I wrestling power and his alma mater. He is married to Tricia Saunders, a four-time Women's World Champion and America's most successful female wrestler. Townsend helped coach Tricia throughout her career. He has attended seven previous Women's World Championships, assisting the U.S. coaching staff at each of these events. Saunders won a silver medal in freestyle wrestling at 149.5 pounds at the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. He was also a member of the 1992 U.S. Olympic team, placing seventh at the Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain. Saunders competed in the four World Championships events. He was fourth in the 1993 World Championships and eighth in the 1995 World Championships. He also competed in the 1991 and 1994 World Championships. Among his other major honors were gold medals at the 1991 and 1995 Pan American Games and a gold medal at the 1994 Goodwill Games. He also won two U.S. Nationals freestyle titles. He began his college career at Cal-State Bakersfield, where he was a 1987 Div. II national champion. He transfered to Arizona State Univ., placing second in the 1989 NCAA Div. I Championships and third in the 1990 NCAA Div. I Championships. He was a 1985 high school state runner-up for Torrance High School in California. "My goal is to win a gold medal at every weight class, and carrying over our success to the Olympic Games," said Saunders. "You can't say enough about having the home court advantage in New York. I believe I can help our athletes compete against their international competitors." Tadaaki Hatta of Elyria, Ohio has been named as the Assistant Coach of the 2003 U.S. Women's World Team that will compete in New York, N.Y. Hatta has been one of the most active and successful freestyle coaches in the nation, both with the men's and women's programs. He was the head coach of the 1991 U.S. Women's World Team, that placed fifth in the World Championships and featured two medalists. He was also head coach of the Women's 1999 Cadet World Team, the 2001 and 2002 Women's Junior World Team and the 2002 Women's University World Team. He was also the boy's Cadet World Team coach in 1998. Hatta was a member of the 1988, 1992 and 1996 U.S. Olympic team coaching staff. He was also a coach of the 1968 and 1984 Japanese Olympic team, as well as the 1972 Mexican Olympic team. He is a USA Wrestling Gold Certified Coach, and has served as USA Wrestling-Ohio's Director of Wrestling Development and Coaches Education Director. Hatta has also been active as a coach on the high school levels in Ohio. He competed for Oklahoma State Univ., where he was a 1965 NCAA champion and third in the 1966 NCAA Championships. Hatta also won two Big Eight titles for the Cowboys. He has received a Master's degree from Northwestern Univ.