Pate, a former associate head coach with Georgia Southern who was on the sidelines for five NCAA Division I-AA national championship campaigns, has been named head football coach at Hamline, athletic director Bob Beeman announced on Tuesday.
Pate brings an extensive history of success at numerous levels to his new position at the helm of the Pipers. He twice served on the staff at Georgia Southern, first from 1985-89 and then again from 1996-2005. Pate’s roles ranged from defensive line coach to associate head coach and he spent 12-plus years as the recruiting coordinator with the Eagles. His teams won NCAA Division I-AA (now the NCAA Division I Football Championship Subdivision) national championships in 1985, 1986, 1989, 1999, and 2000. Pate also coached in the title games in 1988 and 1998.
The five national championship rings is the most held by any Division I-AA coach.
“I am excited and enthused by the valuable experience from several levels of coaching that John brings to Hamline University. His overall knowledge of the game coupled with his staff management ability bode well for the growth of HU football,” said Beeman. “John is a seasoned leader that will receive the level of support he and his staff need to achieve the type of success on the football field that our community deserves.”
The Eagles posted a record of 159-35 during Pate’s tenure. In addition to his 15 years at Georgia Southern, Pate spent time as the head coach at both Union College (1984; NAIA program in Kentucky) and Lees-McRae (1991-93; Division II program in North Carolina).
“I am excited about the opportunity to join the Piper family,” said Pate. “Hamline is blessed to have an outstanding athletic coaching staff under the leadership of Bob Beeman. It is our goal not only to rebuild the football program at Hamline, but to make it one of the best in the MIAC.”
Pate has also experienced success heading up high school programs, most recently taking the West Montgomery High School (Mt. Gilead, N.C.) team to a 20-8 overall record over the past two seasons. The team played in the state semifinal game in 2009 and made it to the second round in 2010.
“John has shown that he can coach teams to prominence at the highest levels,” said Hamline head baseball coach Jason Verdugo, a former NCAA Division I football and baseball player at Arizona State. “I am confident that he has the energy and experience that will lead our football program to excellence.”
Pate earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from North Georgia College and his master’s degree in sport management from Georgia Southern. He and his wife, Tammie, are moving to the Twin Cities from North Carolina and Pate will assume his new role at Hamline next week.