For the first time since joining Oklahoma on Jan. 4, Todd Bates spoke with the local media last week. Bates was named Oklahoma’s associate head coach, co-defensive coordinator and defensive tackles coach.
Bates arrives in Norman with a sterling reputation for landing some of the nation’s premiere talent. It’s Oklahoma’s reputation that ultimately attracted Bates to OU.
“Man, I tell you what. It’s one of the blue blood programs, man, and with tradition oozing out its ears. You talk about the 50 conference championships. You talk about since 2000 winning 239 ball games, and that doesn’t just happen, and that’s regardless of who’s been at the helm. You know, over that time, three different coaches and people at the helm, they just kept it going. And Oklahoma’s just always been a special place,” Bates said.
While at Alabama, Bates and the Crimson Tide lost in Norman 37-27, so he was at least somewhat familiar with what Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium is like on a Saturday.
“I was very fortunate during my time as a player at Alabama to play in that stadium, play right here in this stadium and to see what that’s all about. And it didn’t turn out our way, for those of you that remember, in ’02. Oklahoma ended up winning that ball game. And I ended up playing with some of those players from that team later in my career. As a Titan, was part of a team with Rocky Calmus and Jason White, and you just see, man, the pride that they took in where they played. And that’s just continued. So, I’m excited to have an opportunity to be under Coach Venables and continue that process, man, and pour into players and make sure that they know what they’re a part of, because it’s special,” Bates said.
Continuing to work with Venables might’ve been the biggest deciding factor in Bates…