translated by Brett Larner
Waseda University ekiden team assistant coach Yutaka Sagara, 34, a native of Koriyama, Fukushima and a Waseda alumnus, is set to take take over as the team's head coach. The formal announcement of his inauguration is expected to take place within the current fiscal year.
Yasuyuki Watanabe, 41, has served as head coach of the Waseda ekiden team since 2004, but in December last year he announced that he would retire as coach at the end of the fiscal year in March. According to a source connected to the team, Sagara was tapped based on favorable evaluations of his co-leadership of the team in tandem with Watanabe.
Sagara was born in Koriyama. After graduating from Asaka H.S. he entered Waseda University's school of human sciences, scoring some success as an athlete in the 3000 mSC. His first year he ran the Hakone Ekiden's uphill Fifth Stage, and as a third year he ran the downhill Sixth Stage. In his senior year he served as the team's captain.
After graduating he worked at several local high schools in Fukushima before taking a position as assistant long distance coach at Waseda in April, 2005. At Waseda his duties have focused on developing the team's uphill and downhill specialists and its walk-on athletes. He has run the Fukushima Ekiden twice, at the ninth running in 1997 and again at the fifteenth running in 2003.