Tate spent nearly 50 years affiliated with the game of football mostly at the collegiate level. The Hanover County native played collegiately at the University of Richmond earning All Southern Conference and All-State in 1965. He continued with the Spiders as a coach, 1966 to 1977, and was on the sideline when Richmond defeated Ohio University in the 1968 Tangerine Bowl, one of the biggest wins in Richmond football history.
Following his coaching career, Tate entered the business world, but kept his finger on the pulse of college football as radio analyst for Richmond football broadcasts working with long time play-by-play broadcaster, Bob Black, for 20 years, broadcasting 225 consecutive games from 1985 – 2004.
It was his work on the Richmond football broadcasts that led to a weekly radio segment known as “State of the state with Ray Tate”. Paired with veteran sports radio talk show host, Al Coleman, the segment covered college football, locally and nationally, during Coleman’s radio show, “SportsPhone with Big Al”.
Sadly, Tate passed away in October, 2011, at the age of 68 following a length illness. In recognition of his support and commitment to the University of Richmond, the Spider Radio Booth at Robins Stadium was named in his honor, The Ray Tate Radio Booth. And, now, the Touchdown Club of Richmond is honoring this dedication with the creation of the Ray Tate Memorial Award.
The first award will be presented to Jim Cavanaugh of Virginia Tech. Cavanaugh has dedicated his life to football notably collegiate football starting with his playing career at William & Mary (1967 – 69) where he earned honorable mention All-American status in 1967 and was co-captain of the Tribe in 1969. For his career, he had 117 receptions for over 1,600 yards.
After two years coaching high school in the Hampton Roads area, legendary Lou Holtz provided Cavanaugh his first college coaching opportunity working as a grad assistant at North Carolina State in 1972. This was the start of a college coaching odyssey that included stops at VMI, Marshall, UVA, Maryland, and UNC before arriving in Blacksburg in 1996 to coach strong safeties and linebackers.
Cavanaugh and the Hokies played in a post-season bowl following every season that he has been a member of Frank Beamer’s staff which included playing for the National Title in the 2000 Sugar Bowl vs. FSU. Along the way, he established himself as one of the top recruiters in the collegiate football and, in 2010, The Sporting News named him the number two recruiting coordinator in the country. Including his playing career, the native of Queens has spent nearly five decades in the collegiate football business.
“Coach Cav” will receive the first Ray Tate Memorial Award at the Dudley Award Banquet on Wednesday, Dec. 4, which is being held in Richmond at the Hilton Hotel. Chris Tate, the son of Ray Tate, will make the presentation. This will be the first of an annual presentation that will take place at the Dudley Award Banquet which is held ever December to recognize, honor the top collegiate football players in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The banquet is co-sponsored by the Richmond Times-Dispatch and Touchdown Club of Virginia.
The Touchdown Club of Richmond is a sports-social organization founded to promote the best interests of the American game of football and sports in general, under the guidance of elected officers with the predominate purpose being to recognize worthy athletes for their accomplishments and to encourage them to continue their education and athletic careers.
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