JONESBORO, Ark. (AStateRedWolves.com) — Arkansas State head coach Brian Boyer announced Saturday that former A-State and WNBA player Sonja Tate has joined the ASU women's basketball staff as an assistant coach. Tate fills the position vacated by Jennifer Sullivan, who resigned last month.
Arguably the best basketball player to ever don an A-State jersey, Tate, who played at ASU from 1990-93, remains at the top of the ASU record books in six statistical categories. With 2,312 points, she remains the career scoring leader in both women's and men's basketball at Arkansas State. Tate also holds the single-season scoring record at ASU with 820 points during the 1992-93 season and owns the top-five single game scoring performances at ASU. She remains the only ASU women's player to have scored 40 or more points in a single game, a feat she accomplished five times, including a 50-point performance against Louisiana-Lafayette during the 1992-93 season. Tate connected on 95 three-pointers during the 1992-93 season, an ASU record that still stands.
She also holds the single-season rebounding record with 327 boards, is third on the all-time rebounding charts with 1,006, and is the career steals leader with402. She also owns the top-two single-season steal records with 125 steals during the 1992-93 season and 114 thefts in 1991-92. She remains the only player in ASU history to record a quadruple double, finishing with 29 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in an 86-59 victory at Mississippi Valley State Jan. 27, 1993. Later that season, she led A-State to a 67-54 win over SMU in the finals and earned MVP honors in the National Women's Invitation Tournament.
Following her freshman season, she was named Co-Newcomer of the Year in the American South Conference. She earned All-American South Conference honors as a sophomore and All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a junior and a senior. Prior to her senior season, she was named preseason first-team All-America by Dick Vitale's Basketball Magazine and following the season was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and aKodak All-American.
She was also an All-American track and field athlete while at ASU, and remains in the top-10 in ASU history in six events. She set the school record in the heptathlon in 1994 with 5,247 points, a mark that remains at No. 2 today.
"I am obviously excited to welcome Sonja back home to Arkansas State," said Boyer. "One could argue that she has accomplished more here at Arkansas State than not only any other women's basketball player, but more than any athlete, period. What she has accomplished as a player speaks for itself, but I am nowconvinced that she is ready to make a name for herself as a coach."
"Sonja was not successful as a player because she was just better than everyone," Boyer continued. "She was successful because she was driven to be better than everyone. This attitude will be great for both our current athletes and our future athletes to be around. Sonja is extremely proud of Arkansas State University. She currently lives in Charlotte, NC and has North Carolina plates and an Arkansas State University sticker on her car. As a bonus, our program has sent a message loud and clear to all other programs within our athletic department that we are not to be taken lightly when it comes to noon ball pick-up games – I am convinced that the women's basketball staff will now be considered the favorites."
She was inducted into the ASU Hall of Honor in 2004, two years after finishing her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx, where she was a three-year starter. During her time with the Lynx, she led the team in minutes played, assists and steals and was among the top-three rebounders on the team. She also played professionally in France, Russia, Spain, and with the American Basketball League.
Most recently, she was head women's basketball coach at William A. Hough High School in Charlotte, N.C., leading a program that did not exist prior to 2010 to atwo-year record of 37-19 following the 2011-12 season. Tate directed Hough to the North Carolina State Playoffs in both of her seasons as head coach.
"I can't tell you how happy I am to be coming back, and for the support that I have out there," said Tate. "I have stayed very familiar with the program and I am happy to be coming back to help continuethe tradition, and to continue to build the Arkansas State women's basketball program."
Tate earned her Bachelor's Degree in Physical Education and Health from Arkansas State in 1996 and her Master's of Education from ASU in 2005. She will begin her duties at ASU June 11.