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Cater coaching prowess could be enshrined in college hall of fame

By Bob Madison - For the Chronicle | Aug 20, 2021


SHEPHERDSTOWN — The College Football Hall of Fame could be the next stop for retired Shepherd football coach Monte Cater.

That’s the same Hall that has Paul “Bear” Bryant, Bobby Bowden and Bobby Dodd — three southern coaching legends who did so much winning that stadiums were named in their honor.

Cater was at Shepherd for 31 seasons — six of which saw the Rams go undefeated in their regular seasons.

Cater completed his lengthy term as Shepherd University’s coach with a 245-93-1 record at the school. He also served as athletic director from 1993 through 2004.

Once he started to steamroll through unbeaten regular seasons that often carried into the NCAA Division II post-season, Cater actually totaled eight seasons with at least 10 wins.

The now-gone WVIAC (West Virginia Intercollegiate Athletic Conference) named him Coach of the Year seven times and the MEC (Mountain East Conference) tabbed him Coach of the Year once. Cater had retired before the Rams joined the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference (PSAC).

His first season at Shepherd came back in 1987 when he became the school’s 12th head coach. During his tenure at Shepherd, the school was able to improve its facilities with the Kenneth Boone Field House, by increasing the football stadium’s seating capacity from about 1,800 to about 5,000, by installing artificial turf where a grass field had been in place since the mid-1950s and by erecting a press box on the west side of Ram Stadium. A much larger scoreboard was also placed in the stadium’s south end.

Between 1987 and 2017, Cater-coached teams won 17 conference championships and had 13 post-season appearances. Cater was once named the West Virginia College Coach of the Year by the West Virginia Sports Writers Association.

He coached a number of players who went on to play in the NFL including James Rooths, Howard Jones, Tre Sullivan, Dominique Jones and Ricky Schmitt.

During Shepherd’s climb into national prominence while Cater was coaching, the Rams began to regularly draw crowds of 5,000 fans to regular season games and more than 6,000 to playoff games.

There are 33 candidates who are on the 2022 Hall of Fame list to be voted on by a lengthy list of eligible selectors.

The voted-on list of eventual inductees will be revealed early in 2022.