Throughout his 36 years at Bearden, Coach Jack Tate has had a tremendous impact on and off the baseball diamond.
The baseball team recognized that career before the home game against Lenoir City on March 20, when Coach John Rice dedicated the Jack Tate Fieldhouse.
When the idea came up several months ago, Coach Rice was all for it.
“We talked to some people and some parents and made it happen,” Coach Rice said.
Coach Tate, a 1978 graduate of Bearden, has worked as head coach, assistant coach, and JV head coach. He’s had an impact on his players over the years on and off the field, but he has decided this will be his last year on the baseball staff. He is still going to stay on staff as a teacher.
Bearden (4-9, 2-2 District 4-AAA) and Coach Tate will return to the diamond Monday night, as they travel to Heritage (6-7, 3-1) for a important district matchup.
“He has a great attitude in the dugout, he’s always smiling,” senior pitcher and first baseman Keith Gabrielson said. “He’s just a great person to be around.”
In 2012 during his three-year tenure as head coach, Coach Tate took the team all the way to the state finals.
“There have been great memories every year, but I think the best memory has had to have been when we went to the state tournament my last year as head coach,” Coach Tate said. “But every season has had some tremendous things.”
Off the baseball field, Coach Tate has made an impact on Bearden with his endless amount of support for all Bearden sports teams.
“Bearden is Jack’s family,” Coach Rice said. “When he goes to a volleyball game, or drives across town for a basketball or football game, whatever it is, Jack sees those events as family gatherings where he’s trying to share our family story.
“As much as we are all proud to be a part of the Bearden family, it doesn’t mean more to anyone than it does to Jack, and that is his greatest asset to our team.”
More often than not, students, staff, and parents will find Coach Tate in the stands supporting Bearden’s sports teams and tweeting live updates during those games.
Many students count on Coach Tate to give them score updates for sporting events through social media when students are unable to attend games, and this has made a great impact for many.
The idea of naming the field house was agreed on by many immediately. Many players, former players, Bearden staff, coaching staff, and more helped to make this happen, and now Coach Tate’s name will be forever honored at Bearden.
“He’s not been just a baseball coach,” Coach Rice said. “He’s someone who really has given everything has for Bearden.”