Sano said "six or eight" players who began at the bottom rung of the USA Volleyball ladder will probably be on the women's national team in the near future.
"The system is working, and we're really pleased with that," he said.
He said it has been several years since USA Volleyball administrators concluded that its best chance for international success was by creating a player development pipeline rather than simply choosing an all-star team to play in the Olympics and world championships.
"We've seen how that works out, just like we've seen with basketball in the last few years," he said.
Potential for Olympics
Centre is hosting one of five High Performance Development Camps this summer for girls - mostly 13- and 14-year-olds - who were selected after a tryout process. And Sano said it's conceivable that some of the girls in those camps will rise to the top of that ladder to become national team players and perhaps even represent the United States in the Olympics.
"The potential is going to be there," he said.
The odds are long against any one player, but Sano said some of the players he'll see this summer will advance in the pipeline, while others will wash out. The vast majority of those who continue won't make it all the way to the top, but he said they can still benefit from the system by going on to become collegiate standouts, for example.
Sano is a cog in the wheel, a full-time college coach who volunteers with USA Volleyball to help evaluate and develop those players.
He is co-director of the camp series and head coach of the camp series, and his work continues long after the players have left the courts. He and the assistants meet after session to talk about the players, and once the camp is done, evaluations on each player will be sent to the national office and to the players themselves.
"It's an ongoing process," he said.
Sano has coached for over 30 years at the collegiate and junior club level. He is the founder and co-director of a junior club in California, and he has worked as an assistant or head coach at several schools in the West, including a four-year stint as head coach at Utah State.
Just one week before coming to Kentucky, he was hired as the head coach at La Verne, a Division III powerhouse in California that has won three national championships and reached the national finals last year.
He was the second assistant for the 1984 U.S. Olympic team that won a silver medal at the Los Angeles Games.
"That was a pretty amazing experience," he said.
However, Sano said the experience of working with young players and helping them improve has also been satisfying.
"Any time you get to work with young people, it's pretty enjoyable," he said.
And he said watching the best of those young players beginning to make an impact at the national level is a special reward.
"The system is working, and we're really pleased with that," Sano said.