Thundering Herd continues to stockpile talent
Marshall University Head Football Coach Doc Holliday announced the hiring of Fred Tate as safeties coach in January of 2010.
Tate came to Marshall having served as the defensive line coach for the previous two seasons at the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga. Prior to UTC, Tate served as an assistant coach under Jeff Bower at Southern Miss where he coached defensive tackles and outside linebackers.
"Fred has great ties to Mississippi, Texas, Alabama and Georgia and he is an excellent defensive coach that has experience coaching both the line and linebackers," Holliday said. "He has served in the Army Airborne and he will be a great role model for our team."
One of his Golden Eagle defenders, Tom Johnson, earned All-Conference USA honors in 2005. USM finished 7-5 in 2005 and 9-5 in 2006. The 2005 squad was New Orleans Bowl Champions with a 31-19 victory over Arkansas State. The 2006 Eagles claimed the Conference USA East Division title, played Houston in the C-USA Championship Game and defeated Ohio University 28-7 in the GMAC Bowl.
"I am excited about being able to come to a program that is so rich and tradition," Tate said. "It is great to be back in Conference USA where I played and coached for several years. I can't thank Doc Holliday and the Marshall Administration enough for this opportunity and the chance to be a part of this University."
Tate's coaching career began in 1997 at East Central Community College in Mississippi where he coached tight ends and receivers. He moved to Jacksonville State in 1998 and served as the defensive line and special teams coach for two years. While with the Gamecocks, he mentored Mark Word who played in the National Football League for the Kansas City Chiefs and the Cleveland Browns.
The 2000 season saw him return to the junior college level, coaching the defensive line, punting and kicking teams at East Mississippi Community College. He served as the defensive line coach at Southwest Texas State in 2001 and at Middle Tennessee in 2002. At Southwest Texas, he guided Clenton Ballard to All-America status.
Ballard went on to play in the NFL for the Jacksonville Jaguars and the San Diego Chargers.
Tate joined former Southern Mississippi defensive coordinator John Thompson at East Carolina in 2003. He coached the Pirates' outside linebackers for two years and assisted with special teams.
A native of Hattiesburg, Miss., Tate enlisted in the United States Army upon high school graduation. He served five years as a combat engineer in the U.S. Army Airborne.
Following his service, Tate attended East Central Community College in Decatur, Miss., where he was a JC Gridwire All-America selection as a sophomore and was voted the Most Valuable Offensive Player of the National Junior College All-Star Game.
His playing career continued at Southern Mississippi, playing defensive end and tackle in 1995 and 1996 for Coach Bower. The Golden Eagles were charter members of Conference USA in 1996 and won the league's first football championship that season with a 4-1 mark. The 8-3 overall record included a victory over Georgia and a seven-game winning streak.
Tate earned his bachelor's degree from Southern Miss in 1997.