The Maranatha Baptist University Athletics Department recently announced the hiring of Nathan Spate, a 1998 graduate of Maranatha, as head coach of the football team for the 2014 season.
“We are excited about the wealth of experience Nate brings to our coaching staff and football program,” Athletic Director Rob Thompson stated. “As an alumnus, Nate understands our University, its core values, and its mission, and he is a perfect fit for Maranatha’s football future.”
Spate follows in the footsteps of Coach Andy Peterson who modeled biblical discipleship and ministered to team members as players and friends. “We would like to thank Andy Peterson for the profound influence he has had on our players and coaches, and wish him the best for his future endeavors,” said Thompson.
Spate graduated from Maranatha with bachelor degrees in both History and Physical Education, and received his Master of Science in Sport Coaching in 2003 from the United States Sports Academy.
Spate commented, “In my mind, the ministry of coaching is to develop athletes to maximize their athletic skills to the praise of God, while developing the maturing elements of character, leadership, and the application of athletic lessons into everyday living. I am thankful for this opportunity and the rich tradition of Maranatha football. It is my desire to build upon that foundation while promoting the development of leaders for ministry in their families, churches, and the world.”
Spate took his first position in 1995 as head coach of the Juvignac Felins, a Division II semi-professional team located in Juvignac, France, after learning of the team through a football missions trip led by former head coach Terry Price.
In his first year, Spate led Juvignac to a semifinals appearance. He returned to Maranatha to complete his undergraduate work, then returned to Juvignac in 1997 to lead the Felins to a District Championship. He graduated the following year and married his college sweetheart Tara Snider.
The former UMAC All-Conference Team selection enters his twentieth season of coaching, with two state championships at Trinity Christian Academy (Jacksonville, FL) and twelve playoff appearances at six different high schools, including six at Trinity and three at Eagle’s View Academy (Jacksonville, FL).
He set eight offensive school records at Eagle’s View and six while at Canyon Creek Christian Academy (Richardson, TX). Spate preaches “systems that build programs, teams that win championships, and players that play to compete.”
Spate looks beyond systems though, to the greatest motivation in coaching: his faith.
“I grew up in a Christian home and made a profession of faith at a young age in a revival meeting. But during my junior year of college, I received assurance upon learning and accepting Christ’s gift of salvation. I am thankful He has sought to use me, and I wish to be used for His praise,” Spate reflected.
Spate assumes the position of Director of Athletic Recruiting, PHIT Coordinator, and will teach Techniques of Coaching Football.
He and his wife Tara, along with his four children—Jonathan, Emily, Elizabeth, and Esther—are anticipating a June arrival in Watertown.