Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Jack Del Rio today named Bill Bates as special teams coordinator. He succeeds John Bonamego, who served as the special teams coordinator in 2002.
Bates, 43, served as the assistant special teams and defensive nickel package coach for the Dallas Cowboys for the previous two seasons. He was one of the most popular and productive players in the history of the Cowboys franchise after playing and coaching for 20 years.
In 2001, Bates moved into his special teams position after spending one year as the secondary coach in 2000. In his first year guiding the Cowboys nickel package, the club saw opponents' third down conversion percentage drop from 40.4 percent in 2000 to 35.5 percent in 2001. In addition, the club finished with the third best pass defense in the league for the second consecutive year, surrendering 180.6 yards per game. Overall he helped the defense improve from 19th in 2000 to fourth in 2001.
In 2000, his first season overseeing the secondary, Bates helped the Cowboys defense finish the season with the third best pass defense in the NFL. Dallas closed out the year surrendering only 168.3 passing yards per game. They were also one of only three teams (Tennessee and Kansas City) to not allow a 300-yard passer.
Bates' impact at the coaching level paid immediate dividends for the Cowboys special teams. After leading the NFL in opponent's average drive start following kickoffs in 1998, they continued their excellence in this area in 1999, finishing the year second in the league.
One of the NFL's true success stories, Bates had a distinguished career from 1983 to '97 that was characterized by persistence and an ability to overcome the odds. Starting in 1983, he made the team as a long-shot rookie free agent and eventually became a special teams star. His production as a special teams standout helped propel the league into adding a spot on the Pro Bowl teams for special teams coverage players.
Bates was a three-year starter at safety tand was named the Cowboys' special teams captain in 1990. He finished his career with 701 tackles in 217 regular season games played, second all-time to Ed Jones. His 15 seasons as a Cowboy ranks No. 1 all-time with Mark Tuinei and Jones.
Bates was a four-year starting safety at the University of Tennessee, where he intercepted nine passes and was named second-team All-SEC as a junior and a senior.
He and his wife, Denise, live in Dallas and have four sons - Graham, Hunter, Tanner and Dillon - and a daughter, Brianna.
BACKGROUND: Pro career: Safety, Dallas Cowboys 1983-97. Pro coach: Dallas Cowboys 1998-2002, Jacksonville Jaguars 2003 (special teams coordinator).