Mitchell Pate begins his first season as a defensive graduate assistant and will be tasked with perhaps the most difficult task of all, finding a replacement for departed senior and first overall pick of the New England Patriots, Jamie Collins.
Pate, who will work primarily with the Bandit ends, comes to Southern Miss after serving three seasons as the defensive line coach and strength and conditioning coordinator at Mississippi College. While with the Choctaws, Pate coached five all-conference award winners and All-Region selection Blake Rowell. Pate ascended to the full-time position after a one-year stint in 2009 as a graduate assistant focusing on the secondary.
Prior to MC, Pate was the defensive coordinator under coach Mario Long at Forest Hill High in Jackson, Miss., from 2007 to 2008. Along with holding opponents to less than 13 points per game, Pate's defense was the top scoring defense in the state, recording 10 defensive touchdowns in 2008.
The Mobile, Ala., native was a four-year letterwinner at linebacker for the Choctaws after redshirting as a quarterback in 2001. He finished his collegiate career as the team's top tackler in 2005.
Pate earned his undergraduate degree in Kinesiology and holds a graduate degree in Education and Administration. He is married to the former Beth Ray of Greenville, Miss.