Cowley president to be inducted into Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame
Known as an avid sports fan and a huge supporter of Cowley College athletics, Cowley College president, Dr. Patrick J. McAtee, will be inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame in February, 2012.
As a young boy Dr. McAtee used to dream of being a star athlete. He grew up playing baseball, basketball, football, and tennis in Ellsworth, KS. He was so accomplished at tennis that he went on to play four years of tennis at Fort Hays State University and even coached high school tennis at Hays High School for a few years before starting down the path of becoming a college president.
“His calling in life was to be a college president, but his other calling in life would have been to be a tremendous coach,” Cowley College athletic director Tom V. Saia said.
He also stayed involved with athletics, while serving as the coach of his sons, Darin and Dan’s, little league baseball teams.
“Athletics has always been an important part of my life,” Dr. McAtee said.
Prior to becoming president at Cowley College in 1987, Dr. McAtee taught speech and communications courses on both the high school and collegiate level and served as director of community services, assistant dean of instruction, dean of instruction and vice president at Barton County Community College.
During his time at Barton County, Dr. McAtee’s mentor was then school president, Jim Downing.
“He used to say if you are going to be involved in anything, be the best at it,” Dr. McAtee said. “I have adopted that philosophy whether it be sports, music, theatre or whatever it is we do at the college.”
Under McAtee’s leadership, Cowley College athletics have captured six national championships and numerous conference and region titles.
Saia has had the pleasure of working for Dr. McAtee for the past 16 years and says the Tiger sports teams would not be as successful as they are without the support of their president.
“He and I have the same philosophy to where we want to be good in everything,” Saia said. “I have been around a lot of presidents but he is the best I have been around. We know we are going to be able to compete on the national level because of having a president like Dr. Pat.”
Dr. McAtee realizes the value of having strong athletic programs on a college campus.
“Athletics brings a lot of students here and it provides the student athletes with an opportunity to do something they really enjoy,” Dr. McAtee said. “They learn a lot from athletics, such as teamwork and accomplishing a goal. I believe athletics teaches good life skills.”
He also believes the success of the school’s athletic program, which consistently ranks as one of the top community college athletic programs in the nation, and was second in last year’s National Alliance of Two-Year College Athletic Administrators (NATYCAA) Cup Standings, is due to having the right people leading the programs.
“It takes a real team effort in order to be successful, but the coaches facilitate the athletes and get them to where they need to be,” Dr. McAtee said. “I wanted to give whoever was leading the athletic programs every chance to be the best at it.”
Dr. McAtee and his wife Sandy have had the pleasure of watching numerous Tiger athletes excel at the collegiate level and eventually go on to be inducted into the Tiger Athletic Hall of Fame. Having helped provide the base for their opportunity to shine on the playing field and in the classroom, Dr. McAtee will now join those Tiger athletes in the school’s Hall of Fame.
“I am honored to be included with those individuals,” Dr. McAtee said. “For them to say I have been a good supporter of what we do and how we do it makes me feel really good.”
Dr. McAtee has helped Cowley College be known on the national level because of the school’s academic and athletic success. The school has received numerous awards during his tenure and was recently chosen as one of the top community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute.
Dr. McAtee received a Master of Science degree in Speech Communication and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech and Theatre from Fort Hays State University. He received his Ph.D. from Kansas State University.
However, he will always be a Cowley Tiger!