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Sport helped Matt Margaron ’03 and Shomari Tate grow their Christian faith as youth. After finding a higher calling, both now are ministering as chaplains to the Hope College community, including our student-athletes and coaches.
Margaron is in his third year as Hope’s Chaplain of Athletics. Tate is in his first year as Hope’s Chaplain of Discipleship.
On the Hope Athletics Orange and Blue Podcast, Margaron and Tate talk together with sports information director Alan Babbitt about their rewarding work as chaplains, their paths to Hope, and how sport helped them in a variety of ways, including being good teammates on Hope’s Campus Ministries department.
“It’s such a gift. I often say I have the coolest job in the world because I’m a huge sports fan,” Margaron said. “Any sport I love to watch. I love to analyze. We can talk about stats. Those are things that I’m really passionate about. But I’m these athletes’ biggest and coaches’ biggest fan. I love it. I love talking about it and walking alongside, but then also talking about the deeper issues as well.”
Added Tate, “I’m like a kid in the candy store. Just having fun. In month four of my job, I would say that my biggest job right now is just getting to know Hope, getting to know students, getting to know the collective stories that make up our beautiful campus, our beautiful community.
“In terms of my formal duties, I just get the distinct honor and privilege to walk alongside of students and make sure that they are being formed well in Christ as they go out into the real world. Also, I have an expansive history doing diversity, equity and inclusion work, so I’m excited to bring that level of expertise to the team as well.”
Chaplains See Sport’s Potential as a Positive Influence
Both chaplains believe sport can be a positive influence on a person’s life. Both see how the difference sport made in their own lives.
Margaron’s athletic career culminated as a Hope soccer standout. While majoring in psychology and religion, he was a three-time All-MIAA honoree and two-time all-region selection.
After Hope, Margaron earned his master’s degree in community counseling from Regent University. He returned to work on campus after working for Young Life for 10 years.
Tate was on a walk-on to the Michigan State University football team after a standout three-sport career at Grand Rapids Catholic Central High School. He played for the Spartans for one year before hanging up the cleats. He then worked for the Spartans as a recruiting operations assistant.
Tate majored in political science and government at Michigan State. He went to earn a master’s degree in public policy from Michigan State as well as a master’s degree in ministry leadership from Cornerstone University.
Before joining Hope’s staff, Tate worked as Catholic Central’s Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for two years. He also was an assistant coach on Catholic Central’s highly-regarded football team.