Chris Cates joins the Florida State Baseball staff in his first season as the Seminoles' volunteer assistant coach in 2013. Cates' primary responsibilities will be in the development of the outfielders while serving as the first base coach.
Selected in the 38th round of the 2007 MLB First Year Player Draft by the Minnesota Twins, Cates played for five seasons in the Twins' minor league organization. He was named a two-time All-Star in the minors earning his first nod in 2008 with the Beloit Snappers out of the Class A Midwest League. A year later Cates would make his second All-Star team, this time in his first season at the Class A-Advanced level of the Florida State League with the Fort Myers Miracle. Cates turned his second All-Star appearance into a promotion to the Double-A Eastern League where he spent two seasons playing with the New Britain Rock Cats before retiring from professional baseball in 2011.
Cates graduated from the University of Louisville in 2007 with a bachelor's degree in sports administration. A four-year starter at shortstop for the Cardinals (2004-07), Cates started 239 games and hit .302 with 270 hits, 162 runs scored, 101 RBI, 44 doubles, five triples and three home runs. He also showed great strike zone discipline finishing his career with 89 walks to just 69 strikeouts. Cates played an integral role in leading Louisville to its first ever College World Series appearance in 2007 where the Cardinals went 1-2 in Omaha posting a victory over Mississippi State in an elimination contest. He closed out his senior campaign hitting .294 with 70 hits and a single-season career-high 17 stolen bases en route to being named to the All-BIG EAST Second Team. Voted team captain by his teammates and coaches, Cates was a semifinalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award and the recipient of the Men's BIG EAST/Aeropostale Scholar-Athlete award which earned him a postgraduate scholarship.
The Tampa, Fla., native had a career junior season at Louisville as he started all 60 games at shortstop and led the team with a .332 average, 47 runs scored and 16 sac-bunts - a new single-season record for the Cards. Cates was instrumental in helping set a team record for double plays turned in 2006 with 75. He went on to earn third team All-BIG EAST honors as a junior after guiding the Cardinals to their first appearance in the BIG EAST Tournament championship game in their first season in the league.
In 2005, Cates played with North Adams of the New England Collegiate Summer Baseball League where he earned Defensive Player of the Year honors. He was also named MVP of the NECBL All-Star game that summer after going 2-for-3 at the plate while turning in a spectacular defensive performance.
Cates was a four-year letterwinner as a middle infielder at Brandon High School in Tampa. He finished his career third on the all-time stolen base list (55), while posting a career .349 average with 24 doubles, 98 runs and 40 RBI. Cates was also a standout on the hill for the Eagles recording a 10-5 record with a career ERA under two with five saves and 82 strikeouts. He went on to garner MVP honors at the 2002 Baseball America Perfect Game showcase in Ft. Myers.
Shortly after joining the Seminoles in the fall of 2012, Cates married the former Meagan Suárez in Tampa on November 3.