Meridian Star

Sports

June 27, 2013

Bates joins EC football as coach

DECATUR — A former University of Alabama standout is the most recent addition to first-year head football coach Ken Karcher’s staff at East Central Community College in Decatur.

    Todd Bates will coach defensive linemen and serve as strength and conditioning coach, effective Aug. 1.

    ECCC President Dr. Billy Stewart said he is confident Coach Bates will fit into the program of “whole-person development” being implemented by Coach Karcher and assistants Scott Brock and Mickey Mays.

    “Coach Bates is committed to helping build a program that will model the ‘EC Way – Excellence with Class,” said Dr. Stewart.

    Karcher said he is “very excited” about Bates joining his staff.*

    “Todd’s background with the defensive line and strength and conditioning will be a great asset for our players,” said Coach Karcher. “Most importantly, Todd is a great man who desires to build young men. I am very excited to have Todd Bates become a member of my staff.”

    Added Athletic Director Chris Harris: “I’m excited about what Coach Todd Bates adds to the table. He is a great guy who has a passion for student development and student success, both on the field and in the classroom. He will indeed, be an asset and a great addition to our new football coaching staff.”

    Bates, a native of Heflin, Ala., is a 2005 graduate of the University of Alabama, where he received a Bachelor of Science in Commerce/Business Administration and was a defensive lineman on the football team.

    In 2001, Bates was the only true freshman to play for the Crimson Tide and later became a three-year starter capped off by his selection as permanent team captain after the 2004 season.

    After graduating from Alabama, Bates was signed as an undrafted free agent by the NFL’s Tennessee Titans, but several injuries ended his professional football career.

    Bates has seven years of experience coaching defensive linemen and four years of experience as a strength and conditioning coordinator. He most recently served as defensive line coach at Idaho State University, where his duties included serving as team chaplain, NFL Liaison and recruiter for the states of Alabama, Texas and Mississippi. 

    He is also a former head strength and conditioning coach and defensive line coach at both Talladega and Oxford high schools in Alabama.

    In addition to his coaching experience, Bates is a noted writer and poet.

    He penned “The Bama Way” which later turned into a book, “The Bama Way: Profiles of Champions,” which was released in October 2011.

    The book highlights the life of one extraordinary player from each of the Crimson Tide’s National Championship Teams from 1926 to 2010. The five-stanza, 134-word poem was included on a banner hanging in the UA strength and conditioning area.

    Bates is also the founder of Todd Bates Enterprises LLC and conducts the annual Todd Bates Football Skills Camp in his hometown since 2007.

    In addition, he is a motivational speaker and has served as a certified personal trainer.

    Bates is married to his college sweetheart, the former La’Tesa Owens of Birmingham, Ala. They have a two-year-old daughter, Angel Maylene Bates Angel Maylene Bates.

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    After a long morning of lifting, the West Lauderdale High School football team runs sprints across the practice field to wrap up each summer workout session.
    With the players breathing heavily after each set of sprints, the temptation to bend over to catch their breath is always present.
    But the Knight coaching staff won't have any of that.
    "Stand up!" they bark to the players bent over with their hands on their knees. Senior wide receiver Reed Green said he understands why there's a no-bending-over rule.
    "Bending down is a sign of weakness — that's what they tell us," Green said. "I understand what they're trying to make us do by not looking weak, but sometimes it gets tough, but you just have to do it."
    The Knights work out from 6 to 8:30 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Thursdays to help prepare for the season ahead, splitting time between the weight room and practice field for strength and conditioning. Every activity goes toward preparing the team for a long season, and assistant coach Glenn Boothe said even small things like not being over are important.
    "Toughness is a big thing," Boothe said. "The first thing you want to do when you get tired is bend over and show people you're hurting. That's one thing we're pushing here, that we don't want people to see us hurt. We want our guys to be standing tall in the fourth quarter."
    But there's more to it than simply projecting an image of strength.
    "What they don't realize is, when you bend over, it cuts their lung capacity," Boothe said. "They recover quicker when they stand tall."
    Football activities in a summer week for West include their three workout days plus Tuesdays at Meridian High School for 7-on-7s.
    "This gets them ready to play," Boothe explained. "You have to have your body physically ready to play the game of football. It's a collision sport, and this helps prevent injuries and gets them ready for the heat. When we start in August, we're looking at 100-degree days, and if they're in good physical condition, they're going to deal with that a whole lot better."
    Players like Green understand the importance of showing up every day and getting into shape so they're not behind when fall camp rolls around, Green said.
    "It's very important to be conditioned for the season," Green said. "We work out three days a week, early in the morning, and we're just getting better from it."
    Green said he's been pleased with his teammates' participation in the summer, especially amongst the younger players.
    "We have a bunch of eighth and ninth graders coming out, and I think this is more than we normally have," Green said. "It's been a real good summer so far."
    And Green said, as a senior, he's looking to help show the younger guys how to go about things the right way.
    "Being at workouts and giving your best and trying to compete and beat everyone around you is the right attitude to have," he said.
    Getting to practice at 6 a.m. is a lot earlier than most people normally begin their day, but Green said he's gotten accustomed to football activities at the break of dawn.
    "It's gotten a lot easier," he said. "My first year here was in 10th grade, and it was pretty tough then, but every year it's been getting a lot easier, and now it's just habit of getting up in the morning."
    The early mornings aren't meant to be an inconvenience for the Knights. Rather, they're the best time to get everyone out to workouts without it interfering with other parts of their days, Boothe said.
    "It's all about missing other things," Boothe said. "They all have jobs going on and other stuff going on with their lives, so we try not to interfere with that. This tends to be the best time to do that."

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