PRO: 1996 Dallas Cowboys Special Teams Captain, Bill Bates returned for his fourteenth successful season in the NFL. A member of the 1992, 1993 and 1995 Super Bowl Champions team, Bill has been a long time favorite of Cowboys fans. He was named the winner of the Bob Lilly Award four years in a row, from 1990 - 1994. This award is selected by a vote of the fans and annually goes to the Cowboy player who displays leadership and character on and off the field. The 1993 season had seen him return from a disabling knee injury that prematurely ended his 1992 season. After the 1993 season Bill was selected by his teammates to receive the Ed Block Courage Award for successfully overcoming his injury. In 1995 Bill was named by the fans and his team-mates the "Unsung Hero" award, which is given to one player from each NFL team. He has also been the recipient of the Dallas All Sports Association Courage Award. Bill has been selected for the All-Madden Team for the last twelve years and made the roster of the Madden-Summerall "ALL DALLAS COWBOY TEAM."
An inspirational team leader, Bill exemplifies the qualities of perseverance and dedication every time he steps onto the field. Prior to the 1990 season, Jimmy Johnson tabbed Bill as the Cowboys' special teams captain. Also, as Barry Switzer took over he made sure his role would remain the same and has held the position for the last five years. In 1996, his leadership and intelligence helped the Dallas special teams become one of the NFL's very best. He is a very visible member of the Dallas nickel defense at middle linebacker position. His last minute interception at Chicago's Soldier Field preserved Dallas' 17 - 13 win in the team's triumphant return to the playoffs after a six year absence, and will surely go down as one of the big plays in the rebuilding of the Dallas Cowboys.
Bates was one of only a handful of Dallas players who had previous post season experience as a Cowboy. One of the NFL's true success stories, Bill has been overcoming the odds his entire career, starting in 1983 when he made the team as a long shot free agent rookie. Bill immediately became a visible figure on the field with his ferocious special teams play. It was Bates' notoriety that helped propel the NFL into adding a spot on the Pro-Bowl teams for special teams coverage players. In 1984 he became the first NFC player so honored.
COLLEGE: Bill was a four year starting safety at Tennessee. He was named second-team All-Southeastern Conference his junior and senior seasons. Recently he was awarded a position on the 100 Year All Tennessee Team. Bates developed a reputation as the Vol's hardest hitter and surest tackler. He intercepted nine passes and recovered six fumbles in his career.
PERSONAL: William Frederick Bates was born and raised in Knoxville, TN where he starred in football, basketball and as a sprinter on the track team at Farragut High School. He was all-state in football and basketball. Bill and his wife Denise have five children and live in Dallas. Bill was named "Best Dad in Dallas" in June of 1994. He served as the Chairperson for the March of Dimes "Blue Jeans for Babies" campaign for healthier babies and Bank One "Spirit of Christmas" campaign which provides gifts for abused and needy children. Bill was the spokesperson for the Children's Advocacy Center golf tournament in 1993 and headed the Wednesday's Child golf tournament for several years benefiting homeless children. He also has donated his time and energy to various other charitable organizations including: United Way, Children's Medical Center, Scottish Rite Hospital, FCA, Campus Crusade and Young Life. Recently, Bill has started his own organization to benefit children. The Bill Bates Foundation For Children was created to raise money for worthwhile organizations that help children.
Bill now lives in Jacksonville Florida where he is the owner of Temperature Management System (Air Cooled Football Shoulder Pads). He is a partner in Austin Custom Homes and Patio Scapes based out of Dallas and he still owns the Bill Bates Cowboy Ranch (a corporate dude ranch) in Dallas. Also, he is raising and coaching his family.