Joe Tate: Model of Sacrifice
May 2, 2010
Former Michigan State offensive lineman Joe Tate is about to begin the biggest mission of his life.
Tate, a second lieutenant in the United State Marines Corps, deploys for Afghanistan later this week. Tate is a member of the 1st platoon, India Co., 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marines (3/3).
Tate earned four letters at Michigan State from 2000-03 and started 29 games his last three years at left guard. A two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection in 2000 and 2001, he garnered second-team All-Big Ten honors from the media in 2003 as the Spartans went 8-4 in the regular season and played in the Alamo Bowl against Nebraska. He made his mark off the field as well during his time in East Lansing, as he also was presented MSU's Community Service and Leadership Award.
After his Spartan career, Tate was in the NFL for three years on practice squads, including Jacksonville, Atlanta and St. Louis.
Tate came back to Michigan State and served as a strength and conditioning graduate assistant under head strength and conditioning coach Ken Mannie in 2007 and 2008.
Tate's leadership skills during his time at MSU were evident to MSU head coach Mark Dantonio.
"Joe was an outstanding leader when he was here, both as a player and as a graduate assistant," said Dantonio. "He showed great leadership to our players in the weight room when he was working with Ken (Mannie).
"Joe Tate is about business and getting the job done. He's an extremely loyal person. We had him as an honorary captain for the Northwestern game (in 2008), and he did an outstanding job talking to our football team before that game.
"This is the ultimate act of selflessness - but that's Joe Tate. That's what you've come to expect in knowing him over the years. As I talked with him yesterday, he has an unassuming affect on a person. He's unassuming, yet strong. He really epitomizes everything we talk about as a Spartan. We wish him the best in his platoon in Afghanistan."
Prior to his departure to Afghanistan, Tate - stationed in Hawaii - took a few minutes to talk about his service to his country and the role Michigan State has played in his life.
Following your graduate assistant position as a strength coach at Michigan State, you had opportunities to coach, but you decided to enlist in the Marines. Why did you feel that was important to serve your country?
How did your experiences being a student-athlete at Michigan State and as a GA in strength & conditioning lead to your decision to enlist in the Marines?
In what way did playing football at Michigan State prepare you for the Marines?
Where did that model of discipline instilled in you come from? Did working with Coach Dantonio or strength coach Ken Mannie bring it out in you, or has that been with you since your youth?
Coach Dantonio made his presence known as soon as he became head coach at MSU. I had the opportunity to see that as a strength G.A. and how important that leadership is to an organization.
Can you describe any similarities between being in a platoon and being on a football team, the emphasis on teamwork and achieving a goal?
Do you have any family history of serving in the United State Military, or are you the first one?
What do you want to accomplish and what do you want to learn about yourself during your time of service?
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