Former Tennis: KATC sports alum stars in State Farm ad with Aaron Rodgers
Kris Wartelle, The Advertiser, Sept. 25, 2018
Click here for the State Farm video commercial.
You may remember him. He was the 'nice guy' sports anchor at KATC TV 3 back in the '90s. Pat Minnis made a name for himself not once, not twice, but three times as a sports reporter and anchor at the local ABC affiliate. Minnis, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate, appeared there on and off from 1992 to 2002. In between, he did time on the air in Baton Rouge and North Carolina.
"The third time I went back, I was going to be the sports director," Minnis said. "I have three kids and I missed a lot, absolutely."
Minnis is no longer a sportscaster. He traded in broadcasting for a career in insurance long ago. He is now a successful State Farm agent in Tempe, Arizona.
Recently, Minnis found a bit of national fame when he landed a spot in a State Farm commercial starring Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers.
In June, someone from State Farm marketing called looking for agents to be in these commercials," Minnis recalled. "They said, we want you to audition by Skype. So I did, and they said they were going to be looking at a lot of people but, the next morning, they called and said, you got the role. And I was like, the role for what? And they said, an Aaron Rodgers commercial. We need you to fly to Hollywood first thing Saturday morning."
Minnis said getting the job was a completely random event. In fact, he didn't even know that a colleague had submitted his name. Neither the casting people nor his fellow actors knew of his broadcasting background or his sports experience.
"But that helped me out a lot," he said. "Filming a commercial, there's like 50 people standing around watching. So you are not freaked out by all lights and cameras. They were surprised to see how I could follow their directions."
Minnis said it took a few days to film a series of 10 commercials and at least three hours to shoot the first one. He called the experience a good one, thanks to his co-stars Rodgers and David Haydn-Jones. Hayden-Jones plays the sports agent.
"We were there for three days," Minnis recalled. "He (Rodgers) was really nice. That's what made it easier, they were really nice to me. They could have been jerks..
Minnis has been immersed in the sports world since his career began.
He was a star tennis player at UL and a sports intern at KATC, where he went to work as a reporter after graduation.
Patrick Minnis during a tennis match when he played for UL Lafayette then USL. (Photo: The Advertiser)
He spent several years in the market before taking a sports job in Baton Rouge and eventually North Carolina. Minnnis returned to Baton Rouge when he was offered a position with the Football Network in 2002.
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According to The New York Times, the Baton Rouge-based channel was only available in a few states, including Louisiana. It went off the air within months of its inception. The president of the company was Jerry Solomon, also known as the husband of figure skater Nancy Kerrigan.
Minnis was one of about 75 workers who were left high and dry.
"I had just given my notice and I showed up for work and they told me they had no money. So I was lucky. I got a job at WBRZ working the weekends."
Minnis said he decided around that time that he needed to find a more stable career. A husband and father of three children, he wanted stability for his family more than anything. He began working as a pharmaceutical salesman for Abbott, which eventually led him from Baton Rouge to a transfer back to North Carolina.
Patrick Minnis during his tennis playing days at USL. (Photo: The Advertiser)
While working in what he thought would be a long-term career, the unthinkable happened again.
"Pharmaceutical sales is great job," Minnis said. "But there was a conference call one Friday and the VP said, we are going to lay 20 percent of you off. That's when I said, I’m done. I'm going to be my own boss. So I started the process with State Farm."
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These days, Minnis enjoys a successful business which gives him the flexibility to spend more time with his family. He is happy to report he never misses his son's baseball games or his daughters' soccer and dance events.
The one-time sports anchor is humble about his success however. Minnis said he felt bad that the part didn't go to actors who do that for a living.
"State Farm uses agents in their commercial, that's what sets us apart," he added. "But it happened so quickly, I didn’t even realize I was going to be paid. You get residuals, but I'm not sure how that works."
Since the commercial aired on national television, the Baton Rouge native has been hearing from friends and colleagues he hasn't seen in years.
Reflecting back, he finds his story somewhat humorous.
"It's weird," Minnis said. "I spent 17 years trying to make it to national television. And now I'm an insurance agent and I'm on national TV. But the best part is, I'm hearing from so many people in Lafayette. That’s been the best part of it."
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