Catching Up with Cowboys Fan Favorite Bill Bates
Hall of Fame Weekend Festivities in Canton, Ohio brought together a wonderful collection of Cowboys legends, including an all-time fan favorite: Bill Bates. Of all the former players and coaches I had a chance to see during the star-studded weekend, catching up with Bill and Denise Bates was among the most fun.
Bill and Denise moved to Florida fifteen years ago after Bill left the Cowboys coaching staff to join the Jacksonville Jaguars staff. He’s no longer coaching, but has a new job that brings him even greater joy than football – grandpa!
That’s right: Bill and Denise are new grandparents! Their 6-month old granddaughter is named Gracie.
Long-time fans remember Bill as one of the most popular players of all time from the time he made the squad as an undrafted rookie free agent from the University of Tennessee in 1983. He played 15 seasons for Dallas, tied with Ed “Too Tall” Jones and Mark Tuinei (and now Jason Witten) for most years of service as a Cowboys player. After retiring as a player, he coached on the Cowboys staff for an additional 5 seasons.
Now here’s the gut-punch for those of us who loved Bill from back in those days…remember when Bill and Denise had the triplets? Well, time passes quickly and those triplets (Brianna, Graham, and Hunter) are now 28 years old!
Yikes! How could they be 28? Seems like Bill was wearing a star on his helmet just a few short years ago, running kamikaze down the field in coverage and taking down a punt returner!
One of the triplets, Hunter is the father of Gracie.
So that’s what happens to these all-time heroes who we recall as rough-tough Cowboys. They become grandpas…and it seems to happen in the blink of an eye.
Bill still remains part of Cowboys Nation; maybe you’ve bumped into him outside the stadium as he hosts his pregame tailgate parties. He also travels throughout the country as a popular motivational speaker. And, yes, he and Denise are still the coolest, sweetest, most down-to-earth couple you could ever meet.
The collection of Cowboys’ legends, including former players and coaches and personnel, made Hall of Fame Weekend feel more like a family reunion than an induction ceremony. For me, that’s what made the event special. The Cowboys Family continues to grow from generation-to-generation…including new grandbabies!