Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival® President, Mike Stanfield, a huge football fan himself, who just two days ago announced the attendance at the 2017 Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast of Virginia Tech Head Football Coach, Justin Fuente, is once again pleased to announce the attendance of a football coaching legend; this time, Monte Cater, the genius behind the success of the nearby Shepherd University Rams.
A 1971 graduate of Millikin University, Monte Cater was appointed as Shepherd University’s 12th Head Football Coach on February 9, 1987; and, also served as Shepherd’s Director of Athletics from 1993-2004. Entering his 31st season with the Rams, Cater is Shepherd’s all-time winningest Football Coach. He boasts a 235-92-1 (.718) record in 30 seasons; and, an overall record [including his other coaching jobs] of 266-115-2 (.697) in 36 years as a Head Coach. Cater’s (.697) winning percentage and 266 victories both rank among the top totals in the NCAA Division II coaching ranks among active coaches. He is the all-time leader in WVIAC coaching victories and also holds the all-time mark for WVIAC coaching titles with 13. His 235 wins at Shepherd are the most by any collegiate football coach at a college or university in West Virginia.
Cater began his collegiate coaching career as an offensive line coach at Millikin University, where he would also serve as co-offensive coordinator. During his stay at Millikin, the Big Blue posted a record of 28-8. Prior to coming to Shepherd, Cater was the primary architect of the revival of the Lakeland College program in Sheboygan, Wisconsin. In six seasons as the head coach at Lakeland, Cater transformed the program into a winner as the team won three conference titles in his last four seasons, while he garnered Coach-of-the-Year honors twice. After arriving in Shepherdstown, Cater wasted little time establishing himself as a winner as he led the Rams to a tie for the WVIAC title in 1988. A 6-3-1 record in 1990 earned the Rams a second-place finish in the WVIAC and served as a prelude to a two-year domination of the conference in 1991 and 1992.
Shepherd made deep championship runs in 1997, 1998, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013. In recent years, Shepherd posted a record-setting 13-1 mark in 2015 and captured its second Mountain East Conference Title in three years. The Rams won their second Super Region One title and advanced to the National Championship game. Cater earned MEC, AFCA and Don Hansen’s Football Gazette Region “Coach of the Year” accolades. The Rams ranked second in the final AFCA Poll and earned the NCAA II Lambert Award as the top team east of the Mississippi. The Rams recorded another 13-1 record in 2016 with a 10-0 conference mark as the MEC Champions. Shepherd won its third Super Region One title and advanced to the National Semifinals. The Rams ranked third in the final AFCA Poll and won the NCAA II Lambert Award for the second consecutive season. Cater recently served as a member of the NCAA II Football Committee with a stint as the Regional Chair; and, as a member of the AFCA Board of Coaches which conducts the NCAA II Football Poll. Cater and his wife, Bonnie, reside in nearby Martinsburg, with their daughter, Taylor, and son, Logan.
There are approximately 700 total tickets printed for the Partlow Insurance Sports Breakfast presented by Grange Insurance. Although, tickets have been on sale by “mail-in” and “walk-in” at ABHQ since last November, there are, at this time, still tickets available. In addition, this past Wednesday, the Festival released 200 tickets for online sale. All remaining tickets to the 2017 Sports Breakfast will go on sale at the Official Festival Souvenir Store and Ticket Outlet which opens on Friday, April 7, at 10:00am, at 212 East Cork Street.