Meet Our Head Coaches

Jimmy Messer - Athletic Director | Varsity Girls Basketball

Jimmy Messer will enter his second year as the Head Coach of the Lady Saints basketball team. After taking a year off from coaching, Coach Messer returned to the sidelines to lead the girls’ program after eight years leading the boys’ program. During his eight seasons, the boys won 153 games for an average of over 19 wins per season. He led the Saints to 20 wins or more four times during his tenure including a school record tying 26 win season in 2011-2012 and a 25 win season in 2006-2007. In over 35 years of basketball, St. Paul’s had only recorded two 20 win seasons prior to his arrival. The Saints finished first in the Area during the regular season four times and won the Area Tournament in 2007. Saints basketball players also excelled academically during this time with three Mobile County All-Academic Players of the Year and 26 All-County All-Academic team players.

Before coming to St. Paul’s, Coach Messer spent three years as the Head Coach at Enterprise Ozark Community College. During his three years in Enterprise, Coach Messer won 66 games including a 27-6 campaign in 2003-2004 that ended with the Alabama Community College State Championship. During his last two seasons, the Bollweevils had an overall record of 50-14 overall including a 28-2 mark within the Alabama Community College league. Coach Messer was named Alabama Community College “Coach of the Year” in both 2003 and 2004 in addition to being named Birmingham Tip-Off Club “Coach of the Year” for 2004. Prior to coaching at Enterprise Ozark, Coach Messer spent time as an assistant at the University of Mobile, Columbus State University, Lander University and Alabama Southern Community College. His first coaching job was as the Head Coach at Monroe Academy in 1991. Coach Messer is a graduate of the University of Mobile.

Coach Messer is also in his second term as Athletic Director at St. Paul’s after serving as the Upper School Dean of Students for four years. His wife April is a sixth grade History teacher and the cheerleader sponsor. They have two daughters: Mallory, a tenth grader, is a member of the varsity cheerleading squad, the girls varsity basketball team and the girls varsity soccer team.  Macy, is in third grade this year.

Jim Tate - Cross-Country | Track & Field

Jim Tate came to St. Paul’s in 1978 as the boys' varsity basketball coach. He began the school’s cross-country and track program for boys following nine years of head coaching and athletic administration from schools in South Carolina and Georgia.  Raised in Mobile, he graduated from UMS and received his bachelor’s degree from The Citadel in 1963 followed by his master’s degree a year later from the University of Alabama. Since 1983, his boys and girls teams have claimed 92 separate state championships in track and cross-country combined and another 40 state runner-up finishes. His girls' cross-country teams hold the current national record for the longest consecutive state championship streak in the nation at 16 (1983-1998).  Some 60 of his former high school track program athletes have competed in either track and/or cross-country at the collegiate level, with most of those at Division 1institutions. 

Coach Tate holds Level II track certification in endurance training and was selected as the National Federation of Interscholastic Coaches Association’s (NFICA) Boys' Cross-Country "Coach of the Year" in 1998. In 2010, he was selected by the National High School Coaches Association (NHSCA) as the "National High School Girls Track & Field Coach of the Year."  He was inducted into the Christ Church Episcopal School Athletic Hall of Fame in 2000 and also into the Mobile Sports Hall of Fame in April of 2008. In October 2010, St. Paul’s dedicated the "Jim Tate Track & Cross-Country Field House" at the track complex of the school; a $400K facility to serve as home base for the school’s track and cross-country program.  In March, 2011 he was inducted into the Alabama High School Athletic Association’s (AHSAA) Athletic Hall of Fame and that summer was selected as the National High School Girls Track & Field "Coach of the Year" by USA Track & Field (USATF)/Gill Athletics. In June 2013, Jim was inducted into the NFHS’ National High School Hall of Fame.

Prior to his career in education, Jim spent five years in the United States Army as a field artillery officer, battery commander and paratrooper with a year’s service in Vietnam with the elite 173rd Airborne Brigade. Coach Tate’s immediate family includes his wife Becky, two sons Lee and Luther, and step-daughters Ginny and Leigh.     


Andy Robbins - Baseball

Andy Robbins came to St. Paul’s Episcopal School in 1987.  A native of Mobile, he graduated with honors from the University of South Alabama.  Before coming to St. Paul’s, Coach Robbins taught at Faith Academy and Mobile Christian School where his teams won State Championships in Girls’ Volleyball, Basketball and Baseball.  He also received Teacher of the Year Award and Coach of the Year Awards.

Since coming to St. Paul’s his teams have won 23 area Championships, appeared in 23 post season tournaments with a career win/loss record of 677 and 115 for a winning percentage of 85%.  In his career his teams have won 10 State Championships.
His teams have produced many collegiate and professional athletes and he is especially proud of each and every one that has been through his program.

Andy is married to Theresa who teaches middle school math at St. Paul’s.  They have four lovely daughters:  Brandi, Allison, Cheri and Susan.

Melissa H. Baker - Girls' Tennis

Melissa Baker is beginning her 2nd year as the Varsity Tennis Coach. She is the wife of Robbie Baker ('84) and mother of Ellie ('21) and Hayes
 ('25). Melissa is a graduate of Rhodes College where she was a Kodak All-American in basketball. She coached the St. Paul's girls basketball team for 18 years and won a State Championship in '94. Last year's tennis team was Section champs and finished 4th at State. Mary Angela Martin was a State Champion at #1 singles and teamed with Mary Ball to win at #1 doubles. Anne Mason Hunter and Monnie Slaton were State Runner-up at #3 doubles. With 5 returning players this year's team should be very competitive.

Steve Mask - Varsity Football

Steve Mask was named Head Football Coach on January 2, 2012. Prior to becoming Head Coach, he served as Defensive Coordinator under Jimmy Perry, for three seasons. In his first year as Head Coach, the Saints finished with a record of 11-3 and advanced to the state semifinals before being eliminated by eventual state champion Spanish Fort.  Last season, the Saints reached the quarterfinals and finished with a record of 10-3. During his tenure as Defensive Coordinator, the Saints won 27 games and were consistently ranked among the best defensive teams in the state. 

Prior to coming to St. Paul’s, Steve spent 15 successful years as a Head Coach and Athletic Director. At Bradshaw High School in Florence, Alabama, he led the Bruins to three playoff appearances and the school’s first ever regional championships as well as their first playoff win in the school’s history. After five years at Bradshaw, Steve spent the next five years at Buckhorn High School in New Market, Alabama. Under his leadership, the Bucks made the playoffs in three of those years. He led the Bucks to their highest ranking ever in the state polls in 1999. In 2002, Steve was lured to Colbert County High School where the Indians had five successful seasons including 52 wins, two semifinal appearances and two quarter final appearances. They finished the 2002 season as state runners-up with a final record of 12-3. As an Assistant Coach at Colbert County in the 70’s and 80’s, Steve was part of three state championship games with the Indians winning the state title in 1979 and 1985. He was also an assistant for the Colbert County state championship basketball team in 1981. After retirement from Alabama schools, Steve spent two years at East Coweta High School in Sharpsburg, Georgia serving as offensive coordinator helping lead the team to the state playoffs both years.

Steve was named “Coach of the Year” by the Huntsville Times in 1997 and 1999 and by the Florence Times Daily in 2002. In 2004, he was named the Region 8 “Coach of the Year.”  Steve served as a founding member of the Alabama Football Coaches Association. In May of 2011, he was selected as a member of the Colbert County Sports Hall of Fame.  In 2014, he was chosen to coach in the Under Armour All-American Game in Orlando, Florida. He has also coached in three Alabama North-South All-Star games.

Steve has two children. Brett, is a football coach at Decatur High School and his daughter, Hannah, is a graduate student at the University of North Alabama.

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