Hamline News

February 22, 2011

John Pate named head football coach at Hamline University

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 ½ 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; Barbourville, Kentucky)  and Lees-McRae College (1991-93; NCAA Division II program; Banner Elk, 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 University. “I am confident that he has the energy and experience that will lead our football program to excellence.”

Adding to the support of Pate from the Piper coaching staff, senior woman administrator and head women’s basketball coach Kerri Stockwell said,” Coach Pate will be great addition to our coaching staff. He has the experience and qualities that it will take to make an immediate, positive impact on our football program.  ”

Head men’s basketball coach Nelson Whitmore, who has returned the Piper men’s basketball team to the MIAC playoffs the last two years, added, “John is a great addition to our Athletic Department. I look forward to watching him change the culture of our football program and building a winning tradition.

Pate earned his bachelor’s degree in psychology from North Georgia College and his master’s degree in sport management from Georgia Southern University. 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.

Hamline University belongs to the NCAA Division III Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, one of the most competitive conferences in the nation. Hamline supports 19 intercollegiate athletic teams for men and women. 

Creativity and innovation in teaching and learning are the hallmark of Hamline University—home to more than 4,900 undergraduate, graduate, and law students. At Hamline, students collaborate with professors invested in their success. They are challenged in and out of the classroom to create and apply knowledge in local and global contexts, while cultivating an ethic of civic responsibility, social justice, and inclusive leadership and service.  

Hamline is the top-ranked and only “Great Schools, Great Prices” university of its class in Minnesota, according to U.S. News & World Report. Founded in 1854, Hamline also is Minnesota’s first university and among the first coeducational institutions in the nation.