July 19, 2000
Billy Pate, head men’s tennis coach at Georgia Perimeter College since 1996 and a 1991 graduate of Mississippi State, has been named assistant men’s tennis coach at Notre Dame, head coach Bob Bayliss announced Wednesday. Pate will begin his duties immediately and replaces Michael Morgan, who has accepted the head coaching position at Claremont McKenna-Harvey Mudd-Scripps Colleges in Claremont, Calif.
“We are really excited to have someone of Billy’s caliber join us,” said Bayliss. “His extensive background as both a player and a coach will be a great addition to our team. One of his biggest assets is the experience he has had working with top players and winning three national championships.”
“This is a unique opportunity and probably one of the very few, if any, assistant coaching positions I would have considered,” said Pate. “Having the opportunity to be a head coach at other institutions did not hold near as much appeal as working at Notre Dame under Bobby Bayliss.
Pate led Georgia Perimeter to three consecutive National Junior College Athletic Association Division II Championships in his final three of five seasons there and led the Jaguars to an 87-43 record while playing over 85 percent of the schedule against top four-year programs. In addition to coaching several junior college All-Americans, Pate also coached Mario Toledo, the only two-time winner of the NJCAA Player of the Year Award. Pate earned the Max Grubbs national junior college coach of the year honor three times (1998-2000) and earned the United States Professional Tennis Association national college coach of the year award in 1999. He also was honored as the NJCAA regional coach of the year five times (1996-2000) and USPTA Southern Division College Coach of the year in 1998 and 1999. He served as head pro of the Concourse Athletic Club from 1997-99 while at Georgia Perimeter.
Prior to becoming head coach at Georgia Perimeter, Pate served as the college’s Sports Information Director while also working with the Atlanta Thunder of the World Team Tennis League and such players as Martina Navratilova, Bjorn Borg, Chanda Rubin, Zina Garrison and Ken Flach. He held numerous roles with the Thunder, including stadium operations director, community relations director and assistant coach from 1993-95. Pate also was employed as head pro for the Ralston-Gorman International Tennis Academy while completing his master’s degree in sports administration in 1995 from Georgia State, where he also served as a graduate assistant to the athletic director from 1993-94.
Pate played professionally in United States Tennis Association satellite tournaments following his graduation from Mississippi State in 1994. He played in a number of professional events in Atlanta and was the top-ranked player in 1995 and 1996 in the South region men’s open doubles rankings. Pate was honored as the 1997 and 1999 Georgia Professional Tennis Association male player of the year, while he also was ranked second nationally in men’s open doubles by the USPTA. He also held a number of leadership roles within the Georgia tennis community, including the position of vice-president of the GPTA, which honored him with the 1998 Outstanding Achievement Award.
The Starkville, Miss., native helped Mississippi State reach the Southeastern Conference championship match as a senior in 1991. Pate also helped the Bulldogs break into the national top 10 rankings for the first time in 20 years during his collegiate playing days.