RIVERTON, Kan. — Brandon Pate, a local high school basketball coach and former Pittsburg State standout, passed away on Sunday.
He was just 45.
Pate played for Pittsburg State during the 2000-01 seasons for renowned head coach Gene Iba. He was the leading scorer on the 2000 Gorilla team with 520 points and dished out a team-best 149 assists.
Perhaps Pate’s best performance with PSU came when he scored 29 points against No. 4 Kansas — the same time Missouri Southern head coach Jeff Boschee was on Roy Williams’ Jayhawk squad.
“I remember some dude put 29 on us from Pitt State when I was at KU,” Boschee posted on Twitter. “When I moved down here to Joplin, I finally met Brandon Pate. He was a great person. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family and the Pitt State community as they lost a great one.”
After his playing career, Pate was as an assistant coach at Riverton from 2012-17. He then served on the coaching staff at Joplin before being tabbed as the new boys basketball coach with the Rams in May.
That vacancy became available when Bronson Schaake was hired at Joplin in April.
“Tremendous man and coach,” former Joplin basketball coach Jeff Hafer posted on Twitter. “His impact was beyond words. Thankful to have had the opportunity to work with and learn from Brandon Pate. His loss is great, but his impact was great. Please pray for his wife Paige and son Braylon as they navigate through this time.”