"I knew if the opportunity ever presented itself to serve as the men's tennis coach at Princeton University, it would be a situation I would welcome," Pate said. "Princeton's storied and rich heritage of academic and athletic excellence offers an atmosphere which few universities, if any, can match. I am grateful to Gary Walters and the search committee for selecting me to lead an exceptional group of young men. We expect to be successful and we will work tirelessly toward the goal of winning Ivy League championships and competing on the national stage on an annual basis."
Pate spent the last 10 seasons as the head coach at the University of Alabama, where he guided the Crimson Tide to seven NCAA tournament appearances. Pate will become just the third head coach of the Princeton men's tennis program in the last 37 years.
"Billy has guided a very successful program in Alabama for the last decade, and we are fortunate to be able to bring someone with such a winning background to Princeton," Walters said. "We look forward to him continuing that success in his new role at Princeton."
Pate arrived at Alabama for the 2002-03 season and guided the team to the NCAA round of 16 that spring. The Crimson Tide reached the NCAA tournament six more times and the round of 16 two more times under Pate's tenure, winning eight total NCAA tournament matches. His overall record at Alabama was 236-163, making him the winningest coach in Alabama's program history.
Pate's teams were routinely part of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association's national rankings and ended nine of his 10 seasons, including the 2011-12 season, in those rankings. The highest final ranking a Pate-coach team achieved was No. 14, which the Tide reached in 2007. That season, Pate was named the ITA's South Region Coach of the Year and the SEC Co-Coach of the Year.
Individually, Pate's players have earned eight singles or doubles berths in the NCAA individual tournament. Seven singles players and six doubles pairs have also been part of the ITA national rankings under Pate.
In addition to recruiting domestically, Pate has put together a long list of international recruits from 15 countries across four continents during his time at Alabama.
Prior to Alabama, Pate was an assistant coach at Notre Dame for two seasons, helping the Irish to NCAA tournament appearances in both seasons, yielding three NCAA tournament wins while earning the ITA's National Assistant Coach of the Year Award in 2002. Pate spent five seasons, from 1996-2000, as the head coach at Georgia Perimeter College, winning NJCAA national championships in his final three seasons while being named the National Junior College Coach of the Year all three times.
After graduating from Mississippi State University in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in communications, Pate worked with the Atlanta Thunder of World Team Tennis, earning his master's degree in sports administration in 1995 from Georgia State University.