Sonja Tate returned to Arkansas State prior to the 2012-13 season, and serves as an assistant coach on the A-State Women's Basketball staff.
Now entering her fourth season as a coach at A-State, the accolades have continued to pour in for the former standout Arkansas player. On March 8, 2013 Tate became the first Arkansas State women's player in any sport to be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame after an outstanding career in both the collegiate and professional ranks.
In her three seasons on the bench, the Red Wolves have gone 61-38, appeared in back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Tournament championship games and made consecutive trips to the Women’s National Invitation Tournament (WNIT). In 2014-15 the team tied the school record with 21 regular season victories finished the year with an overall record of 24-11, falling one win shy of the Arkansas State record for most victories in a single season.
Tate has also helped guide Aundrea Gamble to back-to-back Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year awards and to a CollegeSportsMadness.com Mid-Major First-Team All-American selection. Gamble won the league’s scoring title in 2014-15 and set the school’s all-time mark for assists in a single season. She also instrumental in helping Jasmine Hunt and Khadija Brown-Haywood reach All-Sun Belt Conference Third-Team selections.
In 2013-14 the Red Wolves won the out-right Sun Belt Conference regular-season title for the first time in school history and captured the No. 1 seed in the SBC Tournament for the first-time. The squad went on to make its ninth appearance in the Women’s National Invitation Tournament and amassed the second most wins in school history with 22.
Tate helped the Red Wolves increase their scoring average by nearly 13 points per game in 2013-14 and helped coach the team into a 44 percent field goal percentage, a rise from the previous season as well. She also serves as the recruiting coordinator and has helped the Red Wolves two of the top signing classes in each of the last two seasons.
Arguably the best basketball player to ever don an A-State jersey, Tate, who played at Arkansas State from 1990-93, remains at the top of the A-State record books in six statistical categories. With 2,312 points, she remains the career scoring leader in both women’s and men’s basketball at Arkansas State. Tate also holds the single-season scoring record at Arkansas State with 820 points during the 1992-93 season and owns the top-five single game scoring performances in school history. She remains the only Arkansas State women’s player to have scored 40 or more points in a single game, a feat she accomplished five times, including a 50-point performance against Louisiana-Lafayette during the 1992-93 season. Tate connected on 95 three-pointers during the 1992-93 season, an A-State record that still stands.
She also holds the single-season rebounding record with 327 boards, is third on the all-time rebounding charts with 1,006, and is the career steals leader with 402. She also owns the top-two single-season steal records with 125 steals during the 1992-93 season and 114 thefts in 1991-92. She remains the only player in ASU history to record a quadruple double, finishing with 29 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 10 steals in an 86-59 victory at Mississippi Valley State Jan. 27, 1993. Later that season, she led A-State to a 67-54 win over SMU in the finals and earned MVP honors in the National Women’s Invitation Tournament.
Following her freshman season, she was named Co-Newcomer of the Year in the American South Conference. She earned All-American South Conference honors as a sophomore and All-Sun Belt Conference honors as a junior and a senior. Prior to her senior season, she was named preseason first-team All-America by Dick Vitale’s Basketball Magazine and following the season was named Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year and a Kodak All-American.
She was also an All-American track and field athlete while at A-State, and remains in the top-10 in Red Wolves’ history in six events. She set the school record in the heptathlon in 1994 with 5,247 points, a mark that remains at No. 2 today.
She was inducted into the Arkansas State Hall of Honor in 2004, two years after finishing her WNBA career with the Minnesota Lynx, where she was a three-year starter. During her time with the Lynx, she led the team in minutes played, assists and steals and was among the top-three rebounders on the team. She also played professionally in France, Russia, Spain, and with the American Basketball League.
Most recently, she was head women’s basketball coach at William A. Hough High School in Charlotte, N.C., leading a program that did not exist prior to 2010 to a two-year record of 37-19 following the 2011-12 season. Tate directed Hough to the North Carolina State Playoffs in both of her seasons as head coach.
Tate earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Physical Education and Health from Arkansas State in 1996 and her Master’s of Education from Arkansas State in 2005.