Accomplished author and former Erwin High School and Auburn University standout Dr. Rob Pate is Alabama’s honorary captain for Saturday’s 29th Alabama-Mississippi All-Star football game. Kickoff is set for a noon Saturday at M.M. Roberts Stadium on the University of Southern Mississippi campus in Hattiesburg.
Pate was a four-year starter at Birmingham’s Erwin High School in football, basketball and baseball where he earned All-State and Super All-State honors in football. An outstanding student, he was also named the Class 5A Bryant-Jordan Scholar-Athlete of the Year in 1997.
Chosen to play in the Alabama Mississippi Game in 1997, he was named captain by his teammates and helped Alabama win 10-6.
He then attended Auburn University on football scholarship where he was four-year starter in the Tigers’ secondary. He earned All-Conference and was a two-time GTE Academic All-America All-District selection, a four-time SEC Honor Roll recipient, and the Pat Dye Leadership Award winner. Pate graduated from Auburn University in May 2002 with a bachelor’s degree in zoology and spent a year with the San Diego Chargers.
Injuries cut his NFL career short and he opted for medical school where he graduated from the UAB School of Optometry in May 2007 – earning Dean’s List every quarter in Optometry School. He currently practices in Auburn. He lives in Chelsea with his wife of 9 years, Dana, and their three daughters, Claire McKinley, Ellie Brooklyn, and Jenna Kathryn.
Very popular with Auburn fans, Dr. Pate has authored two books, including his latest, A Tiger’s Walk, which chronicles his battles with the highs and lows of championships and losing seasons, coaching hirings and firings, and personal success and tragedy – as well as giving poignant insights into the daily lives of college football players as they strive to also be college students.
He also authored Memoirs of an Auburn Football Player, which was published in 2004.
Dr. Rob Pate is a member of the American Optometric Association, the Alabama Optometric Association, served as president of the Birmingham Area Optometric Society in 2013, the Hoover Area Chamber of Commerce and the Birmingham Auburn Club. He served as Alabama Special Olympics Opening Eyes Chairman in 2012. He earned induction into the Beta Sigma Kappa Optometric Honor Society, was named Southern Council of Optometrists’ Young Optometrist of the Year in 2015 and the American Optometric Association Young Optometrist of the Year in 2013.
Alabama holds a 21-7 edge in the Alabama-Mississippi All-Star series including a current seven-game winning streak dating back to 2007. This marks the first year the game is being played outside Alabama. The Mississippi Association of Coaches (MAC) is hosting the event which has been a project of the Alabama High School Athletic Directors & Coaches Association in conjunction with the AHSAA.
Pate will speak to the two teams Friday night in Hattiesburg at the annual Players & Parents banquet. He will also attend the game on Saturday and take part in the pre-game ceremonies.