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FHS ‘strength man’ Pate follows Pharr to CAK

Trace Pate, a 198-pound power lifting Gold medalist during the 1994 Goodwill Games, said he had to put aside “selfishness” and do the right thing by switching jobs.

Pate, director of strength and conditioning at Farragut High School the past four years, accepted a similar post at Christian Academy of Knoxville High School earlier this month.

Also defensive line coach for the Admirals football team the past three years, Pate did not assume CAK grid coaching duties, freeing up more family time.

“Number one, it was my family, my little girl [Sydney] is 2 years old. Just a little bit smaller setting, not quite as much coaching time,” Pate said. “Now at 5:30 each day I can go and pick up my little girl.

“It relieves stress from my wife [Robin],” no longer having to leave her job to pick up Sydney.

“I prayed about it a lot,” Pate said of the decision. “It was tough — we just put that brand new weight room in at Farragut, which is one of the best weight rooms in the southeast United States.

“Selfishly, I wanted to stay at Farragut. ... I wish I was still there,” he added. “But as a husband and as a father, it was just one of those moves I had to make for the betterment of my family.”

Other considerations: “the County moved me to teach [physical education] at Cedar Bluff Elementary, which is right over here next to C-A-K,” Pate said. “That had a little influence on it, I can get out of school and drive right next door.

“Coach [Tommy] Pharr moving over here, he’s one of my best friends,” Pate added about the former FHS five-time state championship baseball head coach. “What I do with his guys in the weight room is pretty essential to his program.”

Also a volunteer assistant strength coach at The University of Tennessee for three years until 2008, Pate said he “wasn’t really looking to leave” Farragut.

But Pate said he was invited by CAK administrators to talk about “how they want to grow young kids, and having the ability to talk to kids about God openly and freely is pretty exciting to me.

“Being able to build the program up, you know, to a championship level is very exciting.”

Pate, 38, said his move to CAK “definitely wasn’t a pay raise.”

Moreover, looking back at FHS, Pate said, “It’s hard to leave those guys. I love those kids over there.

“That’s what made it so hard, I was in a great situation there,” Pate added. “They treated me very well. Mr. [Michael] Reynolds [principal] did everything he could.”

Eddie Courtney, FHS football head coach, said about Pate, “We really hate losing him. He did a tremendous job. To begin with, he’s a great person. He’s very sincere in everything that he does.

“His knowledge and his passion for weight training, conditioning program and just how he relates to kids,” Courtney added. “But we understand that with family issues, that’s going to help him. We wish him well.”

Pate said CAK’s weight room needs to be “remolded, expanded” and “laid out a little bit different. ... hopefully within the next year or two we’ll have one of the premier facilities around.

“It’s a new challenge.”

One advantage of CAK versus FHS, Pate said, “Not all sports got into the weight room at Farragut, but here at C-A-K we’re going to get all female sports and all male sports. That’s our vision.”

A native of Louisiana and a “power lifter at Louisiana Tech,” Pate said he made the decision to accept CAK’s offer Monday, July 6.


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