Saj Thakkar

RB Coach, Harvard

About this speaker

In March 2018, Tim Murphy, The Thomas Stephenson Family Head Coach for Harvard Football, announced the hiring of Sajan Thakkar to coach the running backs. The 2023 campaign will mark his sixth year with the program.

For the second straight season, Thakkar coached the Ivy League rushing champion in Aidan Borguet. The 2022 unanimous All-Ivy League First-Team senior running back rushed for 1,183 yards, which was good for 19th in the FCS, and his 118.3 yards per game ranked ninth nationally. Under Thakkar's watch, Borguet finished with 2,429 rushing yards and 25 touchdowns for his career, both of which rank seventh all-time in Harvard history.

In 2021, Thakkar helped continue Harvard's tradition of having threats in the backfield as Aaron Shampklin and Borguet ranked No. 1 and 5, respectively, in the Ivy League in rushing. Shampklin, who landed on the All-Ivy League First Team, averaged 93.6 yards per game and 106.6 all-purpose yards per outing, while rushing for a career-high 11 touchdowns. The senior ended his career with 2,258 rushing yards and 23 TDs, both of which rank as the seventh most in program history. Borguet, meanwhile, was an All-Ivy League Second-Team pick after averaging 60.2 yards per game and eight touchdowns.

Thakkar mentored a different pair of running backs in 2019 that received postseason Ivy League recognition in Borguet and Devin Darrington. Borguet was named the Ivy League Rookie of the Year after a campaign that saw him rush for 645 yards and a team-high-tying seven touchdowns. Darrington, meanwhile, captured all-Ivy second-team accolades after he led Harvard in rushing attempts (182), rushing yards (734), rushing TDs (7) and all-purpose yards (782).

Harvard capped the 2018 campaign by defeating Yale, 45-27, in the highest scoring episode of The Game. The Crimson earned 13 all-Ivy selections, including five on the first team, and finished 6-4 overall and 4-3 in the Ivy League. Shampklin led the league with 1,053 rushing yards, and was a first-team all-Ivy selection.

Thakkar comes to Harvard after three successful years in a variety of coaching positions at SUNY Maritime. For his final two seasons, Thakkar served as the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach. The Privateers flourished under Thakkar in 2017, averaging 37 points per game and posting a 9-2 record. Ten offensive players went on to earn all-ECAC honors.

During his tenure at SUNY Maritime, Thakkar was selected to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) 30 Under 30 Leadership Institute. The program, which is run by the AFCA and NCAA Leadership Development, aims to identify and train the next generation of leaders in the football coaching profession, with Thakkar being one of six NCAA Division III coaches selected to the program.

Thakkar also coached at Fitchburg State during the 2013 and 2014 seasons. He coached the running backs and special teams units, guiding two student-athletes to all-conference honors.

Thakkar has earned his bachelor and master’s degree from Fitchburg State, majoring in business administration. He was a three-time academic all-conference selection as a wide receiver and quarterback.


Gap Schemes w/ Answers

March 11, 2023, 07:00 PM
Saj Thakkar