Over 200 people gathered in the banquet hall at the Clarion Hotel Friday afternoon, April 13, to honor Hall of Fame coach Monte Cater, who retired this year after 31 years at Shepherd University. Former players, coaches, and staff that worked with Cater over the years, were in attendance.
“He is an icon in our community,” University President Mary J.C. Hendrix told the crowd. She noted that the celebration was for Cater as well as his players from years past.
Cater came to Shepherd in 1987 as the head coach. He won 274 games in his 31 year tenure, making him the winningest coach in the NCAA.
The 2015 semifinal game against Grand Valley University showed on the TV monitor in the hall during his goodbye dinner. Shepherd won the tightly-contested game 34-32 and went on to its first national championship.
Cater told the group the decision to retire was difficult, and added, “You have to know when it’s time, and it was time for me.”
New head coach Ernie McCook was a stand-up comedian during his speech as he recounted how he was pulled over by the police on the day he was named head coach.
“He always treated everyone with respect and love,” McCook said when describing his time coaching beside Cater. “It was never my way or the highway but just find the right way.”
The event ended with Vice President of Athletics Chauncey Winbush unveiling a portrait of Ram Stadium for Cater.
“We thought this would be a great way to send you off,” Winbush said.