Coaching Staff

Head Coach Ron Mann
Assistant Coaches J.W. Hardy (Sprints & Hurdles)
  Mohamad Saatara (Throws, jumps, multis)
Graduate Assistants Eric Heins
  Amy Teer
  Name: Ron Mann
Position: Head Coach
Ron Mann's persistent dedication to the track and field/ cross country program at Northern Arizona University has secured his success and notoriety at the Division I level. Last season he garnered his 53rd Big Sky Conference Coach of the Year, ninth NCAA Mountain Region Coach of the year accolade and guided sophomore Ida Nilsson to an NCAA runner-up steeple chase finish. His cross country squads both competed in last falls NCAA Championships, finishing seventh on the men's side and 10th on the women's side. Beyond his past laurels Mann believes the best is yet to come.
" Our squad as a whole is more improved as we have strived to fill in the voids of last season. Last year our squad was youthful but this term they will benefit from veteran leadership and a very talented freshmen class. In 2002 we celebrated the materialization of our new facility, this year our athletes are focused on reaping its benefits," commented Coach Mann.

Mann's 2002 track and field teams were represented by sophomore Ida Nilsson at the indoor and outdoor NCAA Championships as well as hammer thrower, Andrea Hancock and 110 meter hurdler, Vytautus Kancleris at the outdoor championship. Nilsson recorded a fifth-place 3000 meter indoor mark (9:10.4) while returning in the outdoor season to post a runner-up finish in the 3000 meter steeplechase (9:49.3). Both efforts garnerd her All-Amercian accolades. The combined program collected 13 conference champions. Mann's success is becoming untouchable not only by NAU standards; Mann has led athletes to 91 NCAA cross country and track and field appearances, won 53 Big Sky Conference titles and nine Mountain Region cross country titles.

But Mann is renown nationally as well. He has coached 92 individual All-Americans, had at least one of his athletes compete in every Summer Olympiad since the 1984 Games in Los Angeles, and produced two NCAA national champions (Angela Chalmers, 1986 cross country; Anna Soderberg, 1996 outdoor discus).

Mann's achievements have been recognized, as he has been named Big Sky Coach of the Year 30 times (track and field alone) and had "Coach Mann Day" dedicated to him by the City of Flagstaff in April 1991. Mann's most recent honors came in 2000 when he was inducted into the Mt. SAC Relays Track and Field Hall of Fame alongside track and field gold medalist Jackie Joyner-Kersee. For these team and individual accomplishments, Mann received the ultimate NAU athletics honor in 1999 when he was inducted into the Bank One NAU Athletics Hall of Fame. He joined his former college coach, Leo "Red" Haberlack, after being inducted with the 1971 and 1988 NAU men's cross country teams (the former as an athlete, the latter as head coach).

At least one of Mann's teams have finished among the top-10 in the nation 13 times in the last 16 years and eight times in the last eight years.

Mann has led the men's cross country teams to a pair of second-place finishes at the NCAA Championships (1988 and 1995) and produced a third-place women's team in 1991 (the highest national finishes by any NAU team in its Division I history).

Besides the success on the track and trail, Mann's programs have been outstanding in the classroom as well. In the 1990s, 60 NAU cross country student-athletes were named Academic All-Big Sky. During the 2002 spring semester, the combined track team posted a 3.04 GPA, which was one of the best in the nation according to the United States Track Association. Individually the team included 34 student-athletes with a 3.25 spring GPA or higher.

A 1972 graduate of NAU and member of the 1971 Big Sky cross country title team, Mann draws on experience from both sides of the table. After graduating from college, he made assistant-coach stops at Mesa Community College and his high-school alma mater, Phoenix Sunnyslope. Mann returned to Flagstaff in 1980 to head up the NAU women's program. He assumed his current role as head coach of both the men's and women's programs in 1982.

At NAU, Mann developed a then-rare approach of combining the coaching and training of the men's and women's programs. Mann also helped coach the medal-winning West team at the 1991 Olympic Festival and served as head coach of the U.S. Junior National Team at the 1993 Pan American Games.

Mann is a sought-after speaker on high-altitude training and has been invited to the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado, international training summits and national high-school and college conventions. He has had a hand in the development of Flagstaff's own High Altitude Sports Training Complex, which has attracted a host of international athletes and is growing into one of the world's premier training centers.

Mann is the father of three grown sons: Steve, Ryun, and Brandon. His wife, Charlene, is the associate director of undergraduate admissions at NAU.


  Name: J.W. Hardy
Position: Assistant Coach (sprints, hurdles, relays)
A former All-American for the Lumberjacks, J.W. Hardy enters his sixth season as the assistant coach and recruit coordinator at Northern Arizona University. Hardy has played a significant role in the return of conference prominence in the sprints, hurdles, and middle distance events at NAU.
In five seasons, Hardy has guided his athletes to 34 individual conference championships, 9 NCAA national qualifying marks, eight school records, two Big Sky Conference records, and 68 all-conference honors. The most notable athletes under Hardy's tutelage are Samantha George, who finished 11th in the 400-meter dash (53.01) in 1998, Daryl Wonsey who finished 13th in the 60-meter hurdles (7.86) in 2000, and Vytautas Kancleris who finished 17th in the 110-meter hurdles(13.79) in 2002.

Current student-athlete Landon Benson has reaped the benefits of Hardy's expertise posting a personal best in the indoor 200-meter dash (21.21) achieving the standard for the NCAA indoor championships last season.

Prior to his arrival at NAU, Hardy coached the sprints and horizontal jumps at Alhambra High School. During his three years at Alhambra, the team won two division titles, finished second at the Arizona state championships and had five athletes receive all-state honors. Hardy also coached Arizona state football standout, Eric Johnson, to a state long jump title as well as a second place finish in the 100-meter dash and 4x 100-meter relay. Currently, Johnson is a starting special team's player in the NFL for the Oakland Raiders.

As an athlete, Hardy was one of the top NAU sprinters from 1989-93. He was a three-time NCAA All-American, seven-time conference champion, and school record holder as a member of the 4x 400-meter relay team (3:04.77). Hardy was an individual champion in the 400-meter dash and two-time champion as a member of the 4x 100-meter relay team. During the four years that Hardy competed at NAU, the team won seven out of eight possible team titles.

Hardy earned his bachelor's degree from Northern Arizona in Advertising in1993. He has an 11-year old daughter, Kennedy. His wife, Amy is a speech pathologist for Flagstaff Unified School District.

  Name:Mohamad Saatara
Position: Assistant Coach (throws, jumps, multis)
Mohamad Saatara comes to NAU after a stint at his alma mater, Cal State Los Angeles, where most recently he served as the interim head coach for the program. A former All-American at CSULA, Saatara set the Iranian national record in the weight throw in 1997 with a toss of 20.06 meters (65 feet, 9 inches) - a mark that still stands. He finished second in the hammer throw at the 1995 Division II national championships. In his coaching career, he has guided such prominent athletes as Nicole Duncan, a Division II national long-jump champion. Coach Saatara also tutored Janet Hill who finished fifth in the 2000 Olympic Trials in the discus as well as Jenny Folz who has been a top 10 US hammer and weight thrower in both 2001 and 2002. Sataara also instructed Trinidad & Tobago national shot-put record holder Dave Stoute. Saatara is a USA Track and Field Level II coach and lives with his fiance Diane Labazio in Flagstaff,AZ.