Biography: HAMADA, Sadao


Inducted: 2007

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“Sadao Hamada has kept the Stanford University men’s gymnastics’ program among the nation’s elite throughout his long tenure here, and he will retire as one of the great coaches in the history of this department,” Stanford Athletic Director Ted Leland said. “We are sad to see him step away, but he leaves this department with many great memories that we will never forget.” Hamada replied, “My time here has been a great experience.  I have been fortunate to work at such a wonderful institution with a great administration. I love the Stanford community, and have spent more than half of my life here. After I retire, I would like to help the program or department in any way I can.”

Hamada was an outstanding national-level competitor in his collegiate days in both Japan and the United States, finishing second in the All-Around at the 1970 and 1971 National Senior AAU Championships. During his collegiate years in Japan, he led his team to a second-place finish at the All-Japan Championships. Hamada moved to the United States in 1969 to serve as an assistant gymnastics coach while studying for his graduate degree in physical education at Kent State University. Sadao is an avid golfer and is very close to being able to compete in the national professional senior competitions. Education: Hamada graduated from the internationally recognized Nippon College of Health and Physical Education, Japan, (1969), and earned a master’s degree from Kent State University. Quality Personified: Jerry Wright, author of Who’s Who in Gymnastics, 2005 and a co-author of most of the bios on this web site shared “ . . . when he (Jerry) was a member of the Olympic Compulsory Interpretations Committee, he talked with Sadao by phone for over an hour about just how to instruct the national coaches on the proper way to coach the compulsory exercises, Jerry typed his notes, and took them to the compulsory clinic. When the notes were submitted to the full committee, the members were absolutely delighted and adopted the notes virtually without exception or debate.” Sadao Hamada did not hoard his talents; rather, he shared them.  Coach: Sadao Hamada was selected to be Inducted into the U.S. Gymnastic Hall of Fame primarily by virtue of his skills as a gymnastics coach. During his 30 years at Stanford University, he coached 17 individual NCAA Champions in his 29 years as well as over 90 All Americans. Hamada coached the Stanford men’s gymnastics team to three NCAA championships, (1992, ‘93 & ‘95), and his back-to-back wins had happened only 11 times in the 55 year history of the national collegiate meet. Hamada’s teams won two conference titles apiece in both the Pac-10 Conference, (1990-’92) and the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation, (1993 & ’95). The Cardinal gymnastics program burst onto the national scene in 1989. Hamada led his team to a Silver place in the Pac-10 and a 4th place finish at the NCAA Championships. The 4th place finish was a genuine assault on the USA Collegiate Championships and when the dust settled in the gym, two of his gymnasts had won two Gold Medals. The following year (1990) Hamada’s gymnasts won its first Pac-10 Championship with Cardinal gymnasts qualifying for all of the event finals, including Charles Loop/Gold-PB, and Jair Lynch/Gold-HB & FX. In addition, Hamada’s men won four Silver Medals and one Bronze Medal. Hamada pushed hard and his men pushed harder in 1992. The Cardinals captured its first NCAA title, and in doing so established a record of 289.575 points in the Championship. In addition, Jair Lynch won the first NCAA individual title in Stanford history on the HB. “My highest moment was when we first won the NCAA Championships in 1992” Hamada said. He added, “Nebraska was favored to win, but we went into their territory, and we won.” He further stated that “ . . . I enjoyed teaching, not only my sports teams, but the entire Stanford student body (golf and gymnastics). My major concern was that all of my gymnasts were prepared for life after college.” The very next year (1993) Stanford brought home its second consecutive NCAA title by holding off Nebraska and Ohio State to bring home the second-ever gymnastics team victory in Stanford’s history. He retired as Head Gymnastic Coach after the 2002 season. The 1994 season saw Stanford finish second to Nebraska in its attempt to three-peat; however, the Cardinal had one individual champion – Mark Booth-FX. In 1995 Stanford finished team first again beating Nebraska and holding off Penn State in the finals. Honors: Named USA Gymnastics Coach of the Year, (1989); Named NCAA Coach of the Year, (1992, ’93, & ’95); Selected USGF Coach of the Year, (1989); Earned conference Coach of the Year on six occasions beginning in 1992; Selected twice as Regional Coach of the Year; Selected first-ever MPSF Coach of the Year Award, (1993); Hamada was selected for the Honor Coach Award when at Stanford University, (2002). Thinking internationally, Sadao Hamada coached two gymnasts who went on to become Olympians and four who made at least one U.S. World Championship team. Sadao was leaving for Japan shortly after the 2007 HOF Induction Ceremony. He promised to check the web site and provide any additional information he though necessary.

Sources: Basic data was provided courtesy of research provided by Jerry Wright. Photo, introduction, and formatting by Dr. Larry Banner, Web Manager.

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