Utes Insider – Former all-conference safety Steve Tate
As an All-Mountain West Conference safety from 2005-07, Steve Tate was Utah's top tackler his last two seasons and led the Utes to three bowl victories. Today, he and his wife, Savanna, are making a difference in the Salt Lake community by running the Hayes Tough Foundation, named after their infant son who died from cancer in 2016. Steve joins host Mike Lageschulte on this edition of Utes Insider to look back on his playing career at Utah as well as talk about the work his family's foundation is doing to provide financial support and hope to families afflicted by pediatric cancer.
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Tate was named the state of Utah's Mr. Football in 2000 while playing quarterback for Skyline High School, leading Class 5A with 1,660 rushing yards and 24 touchdowns. He played his first year of college football for Utah State in 2001, appearing in 10 games before serving a two-year LDS church mission. Upon his return, Tate elected to resume his college career at Utah and was a redshirt on the 2004 Fiesta Bowl team coached by Urban Meyer. During the show, Tate recalls the difficult transition of resuming his playing career following the mission.
The following year, Tate helped Kyle Whittingham punctate his first season as head coach by recording a game-high 10 tackles and getting an interception during the Utes' Emerald Bowl win over Georgia Tech. In 2006, Tate started all 12 games at safety and earned All-Mountain West honorable mention. He led the Utes with 102 tackles had 8.5 tackles for loss as they went 8-5 and defeated Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl. Tate concluded his career in 2007 by leading the team once again with 103 tackles and getting three picks. He was a first-team All-Mountain West Conference selection and led Utah to a Poinsettia Bowl win over Navy.
Tate talks about some of the turning points of that season, when Utah lost three of its first four games before finishing 9-4.
The Utes' finish to the 2007 season set the table for Utah's magical run to a 13-0 record, a Sugar Bowl win over Alabama, and a No. 2 final Associated Press ranking in 2008. As someone who was a member of Utah's 2004 Fiesta Bowl team and played extensively with key members of the 2008 squad, Tate is uniquely qualified to compare Utah's two BCS teams, and he does just that during the show.
After earning a degree in economics from the U, Tate worked as a pharmaceutical rep in Oregon before moving back to Utah and transitioning into medical device sales. He recently took over his father's financial planning business.
Steve and his family were living a dream life in 2015. With three children already at home, Savanna gave birth to triplets on March 12. However, in January of 2016, doctors discovered a tumor that took up nearly one-third of one of their newborn's brain. After Hayes received six rounds of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant, his cancer went into remission for six months. In November, Hayes' cancer unfortunately returned and he passed away on December 3, 2016.
Tate talks about how difficult it was to lose a child, how the experience made them realize childhood cancer research is severely underfunded, and how the conversations began that led to the formation of the Hayes Tough Foundation. He also talks about why he is so passionate about the foundation's mission.