St. Paul's Tate Gets National Track Honor
INDIANAPOLIS - Coach Jim Tate of St. Paul’s Episcopal School in Mobile, Ala., has been named the Gill Athletics National High School Coach of the Year for girls’ teams.
Tate and boys' teams winner Bob Nihells of Lake Park High School in Roselle, Ill., will be recognized in an awards ceremony Saturday, June 25, at the USA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Eugene, Ore., in front of more than 10,000 track and field fans. Both award recipients’ schools will receive $5,000 worth of Gill Athletics track & field equipment.
"High school track and field coaches are the backbone of the sport of track and field in the U.S.” says David Hodge, CEO of Gill Athletics. “Without their tireless work and dedication, the U.S. would not lead the world in the sport as it does. Gill Athletics is proud to recognize the great commitment of these coaches to our high school athletes.”
Tate has led the Saints to 57 girls’ state championships in cross country, indoor and outdoor track & field as well as 22 second-place finishes. His girls’ cross country teams set a national record when they won 16 consecutive state titles from 1983-1998. Tate also has coached 10 of his boys and girls athletes to 15 Alabama state records.
“The numbers reflect only a portion of the legacy Coach Tate imparts to each of his athletes,” said Tate’s co-worker and former athlete Lydia Johnson. “Tate is a gentle leader who turns teenagers into champions, young men and women into leaders, and instills a spirit of sportsmanship, service, and honor.”
Tate began coaching at St. Paul’s in 1978 and has won numerous awards in his 34-year tenure. He has been inducted into both the Alabama High School Sports Hall of Fame and the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame. In 2010, he was named the National High School Coaches’ Association Girls Track and Field Coach of the Year.
“It is a tremendous honor to me,” Tate said. “It is really a recognition of the success of our program that so many have had a part of — everyone in the St. Paul’s community can take pride in this award.”
Nihells has coached at Lake Park High School for 29 years, serving 18 years as the head coach and 10 as the throws coach. During his tenure the Lancers have captured three state titles, and four finishes in the top 10. His athletes own state records in the shot put, discus and 200 meter dash.
Nihells, who was named the 1997 Illinois Coach of the Year, has had several athletes receive college athletic scholarships.