Steve Pate - 3.5 - 2012
Class: 3.5 Player
Hall Of Fame Induction: 2012
Throughout his career Steve Pate was the most devastating force in wheelchair Rugby. Pate burst onto the scene in 1989 was the first player to draw triple teams from opponent’s defenses. In his first Nationals in 1991 he led Santa Barbara Barbarians through regional’s to the big stage of Nationals where the rest of the nation got the opportunity to see the giant they had only heard of. With very little help on his teams the word was out and teams began to quadruple team he making Pates teams utilize other players. One he got going he was almost impossible to stop.
His intimidating stature never matched his laid back friendly demeanor. He was feared on the court but a gentile giant off the court. Teams had good reason to fear him when 200 plus a pound of muscle was rolling their way. As the Rugby chair evolved it was always put to the test from “Pate hits” and opponent’s equipment usually lost out. Even the strongest of spoke guards couldn’t stop Pate from taking out a few with a single hit. Single hits of his have knocked both tires off the back wheels of opponents, left what looked like a bullet hole on a steel push rim, bent bumpers, frames, you name he left his mark.
Santa Barbara 92, Reno 93, Eugene 94, Quadzilla II 1995, Spokane 97, Seattle 98, Texas Stampede 99- 2006, and Portland Pounders 07-08. He was such a major impact that when his Rugby odyssey took him to a new location his former team was often lost without him.
He was a part of countless all-tournament teams, and was more often than not MVP at events.
Steve, who has a rare central nervous disease called Guillain-Barré syndrome(GBS) which is an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy(AIDP), an autoimmune disorder affecting the peripheral nervous system, took some time off in the mid 90s and married Jill and subsequently came back stronger and smarter than ever.For long time his biggest knock was that he never tried out for a National team.
He finally eventually made a USA developmental team that won Gold at the 1999 World Wheelchair Games in New Zealand. Then at the age of ??? he made his first National team as the teams only 3.5 player. He was the team’s most dominate high pointer and would impress the Rugby world that hadn’t seen the mammoth 3.5 player. In front of 10,000 fans he helped the U.S. win their 2ndParalympic Gold Medal in a thrilling 1 point victory.
In 2001 he was selected as USQRA’s athlete of the year. He continued to make National teams when others his age were retiring. He even made his own Rugby Chair which was unheard of in the sport. He was anything but orthodox playing in work boots most of his career sporting the look of a burley construction worker.
Pate was a gentle giant who pushed through, over and past opponents. He was the most feared player on the court, but liked by all off the court.