2015 Joel Sato (1974)
Joel Sato (Class of 1974)
Joel Sato, son of Bob and Grace Sato, grew up on a farm in West Jordan. Attended West Jordan Elementary School and West Jordan Jr. High School, where he was a student body officer and also played on the 9th grade basketball team. In 1971 Joel began his sophomore year at Bingham, when the school was in Copperton. Since then he has basically never left! He loved his high school years at Bingham and has a ton of special memories and great times that he would never trade. He enjoyed all the activities and traditions that the school provided. During those high school years he played in the high school marching band and jazz band his sophomore and junior years. He was a member of the Men’s Association, and the Bingham Prospector Club. He played football, basketball and baseball for all three of his high school years, receiving varsity letters in all three sports. He started in all three sports, and was named a captain as a senior on the basketball team. Joel considers himself fortunate to have played with some great teammates and have some outstanding coaches and they were able to celebrate Back to Back State Championships in Basketball in 1973 and 1974, and a State Baseball Championship in 1974. He was an All-State selection in baseball his senior year. Academically, Joel is a member of the National Honor Society and received his diploma from Bingham in 1974
After graduation, in the fall of 1974, Joel began attending the University of Utah. Although he didn’t know it at the time, a teaching/coaching career would soon begin. In the fall of 1974, legendary coach, George Sluga, asked him to come back to help coach the sophomore basketball team, which he readily accepted. After basketball season ended, baseball season began and coach Sonny Sudbury, did the same. So the drive from West Jordan, to the U. of U. for school and back to Copperton, and then South Jordan to coach for the next 4 years began. In 1978, Joel graduated with honors (Cum Laude) from the University of Utah with a Bachelors Degree in Education with a major in Physical Education and minors in Health and Drivers Education. Joel also has a Masters Degree in Educational Counseling from the University of Phoenix.
He was hired at Bingham in the fall of 1978 where he continues to teach and coach (in 2016). The 2015-2016 school year was his 38th year teaching at Bingham. During his teaching career, he has taught health, drivers education, business math, 9th grade social studies, lifetime sports, athletic weights and for most of the last 30+ years, World Civilizations. More recently when asked what subject he teaches, his response is, “Sophomore History, but I really don’t know how much history I really teach. Mostly, I just badger them and try to help them grow up.” Joel loves being in the classroom. He enjoys watching his students grow and the relationships that he develops with his students. He also enjoys working with the athletes, and watching them progress and find success. His hope is that he is teaching some life lessons to his students both in the classroom and in the athletic venues.
He feels honored that Bingham students chose him as an Educator of the Month in 1996, an Inspirational Teacher of the Year in 2000 and as a nominee for the same award in 2012.
Although he has received other offers to coach, he has never considered leaving this great high school.
In addition to his duties as teacher and coach, he
-Has served 2 terms as the President of the Utah High School Baseball Coaches Association
-Is currently serving as the Chairman of the Rocky Mountain District to the National High School Baseball
Coaches Association since 2011
-Has been a clinician at the National High School Baseball Coaches Association in 2012 and again in 2015.
-Is sharing the Athletic Director responsibilities with Ms. Bouwhuis. (Actually she does most of the work !)
-Has just returned from serving on the 14U USA Baseball Task Force, which selects players for the trials of next year’s 15U USA National Baseball Team.
His coaching career includes the following:
Assistant football coach from 1978 – 1993 (15 years), Assistant basketball coach from 1974-2000 (25 years) Assistant baseball coach from 1975-1992 (17 years) and head baseball coach from 1993 to the present.
Joel considers himself fortunate to a part of the great culture at Bingham High. Because of the great students, athletes and coaches at Bingham, some of the successes he has been a part of as a coach are:
-As an assistant coach – State Basketball Champions in 1977; 1978; 1989; 1990;
-Assistant coach – State Baseball Champions in 1975; 1976; 1984; 1985
-As the Head Baseball Coach, his teams have won 12 Region titles and 4 State Championships.
Due to the successes the teams at Bingham have had, Coach Sato has been honored by the
Utah High School Activities Association for the following:
1999 Coach of the Year – Distinguished Service Award
2003 5A Coach of the Year
2012 5A Coach of the Year
Utah High School Baseball Coaches Association for
1999 5A Coach of the Year
2003 5A Coach of the Year
2011 Recognition Award for Distinguished Service
Salt Lake Tribune as 2003 Coach of the Year
National Federation of High Schools Coaches Association 2013 West Sectional Coach of the Year
National High School Baseball Coaches Association as
2011 Rocky Mountain Section Coach of the Year
2013 Rocky Mountain Section Coach of the Year
and in December this year and induction in the National High School Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame
Joel knows that all this would not be possible except for the support of the administration, staff, fellow teachers and coaches he’s worked with while at Bingham. He knows his success is directly related to the influence and support of his parents; brother Mike and his family; sister Jill and her family; and his wife’s family. But most importantly all Joel’s good fortune would not have taken place without the love and support of his wife, Cheri, daughter Alisha and husband, Matt; daughter Chantel and husband, Clay who have coach Sato’s first grandchildren, Coco and Thaxton. He considers himself greatly blessed and is so grateful for their influence, love and support.
He said at his induction into the Pay Dirt Club, “It’s awesome to be a Bingham Miner and IOwner
will always be proud to say that I’m from Bingham. Bingham is special and unique, and it is worth the investment of putting your heart and soul into becoming a part of the great culture and tradition here.” As always , “IT’S A GREAT DAY TO BE A MINER”