Protecting the Secret Sauce: Bates prepared for new role as recruiting coordinator


by - Senior Writer -
Todd Bates has been on the Clemson staff since 2017
Todd Bates has been on the Clemson staff since 2017

SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Defensive tackles coach Todd Bates was standing in head coach Dabo Swinney’s kitchen at a Christmas party when Swinney walked over with the news that he wanted Bates to take over as the Tigers’ new recruiting coordinator.

The celebration would come later.

The position was previously held by quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter since 2014 when he took the role over from Jeff Scott. Scott left to take over as the head coach at USF earlier this month and Streeter took over as the Tigers’ passing game coordinator. Swinney knew the perfect man for the job and dropped the news at a staff Christmas party.

“We were at a Christmas party, and he broke the news while I was standing there talking to my wife,” Bates told TigerNet. “He hadn't told the staff yet, just us. So I said, 'Man, people are going to think I am crazy because I am about to scream in joy right now.' My wife said I had better not. But I was just excited.”

Bates joined the Clemson staff as defensive line coach in January 2017 and quickly developed a reputation as one of the Tigers’ best recruiters. However, he didn’t know that he was about to take on a bigger role.

“I didn't have an idea. We have a saying around here that we bloom where we are planted,” Bates said. “I just try to do the best I can do where my feet are planted and do everything to the best of my ability, so I wasn't really thinking about that. It was a shocker to me, as well, but it's a testament that if you do things right and continue to do that over a long period of time then the blessings are going to come. And that is what this is, it's a blessing.”

What does he feel like be brings to the role? Part of that will be protecting Clemson’s “secret sauce.”

“Being genuine and authentic and sincere, that is who I am. I am genuine and sincere in the way I build relationships,” Bates said. “This is not just over a four-year period when I build a relationship with a kid and they come, it's for a lifetime. That is the same way with Coach Swinney and this staff and that is what makes Clemson so special. We are very selective in the people that we recruit, and Coach Swinney is very selective in the people that he hires. The reason for that is he protects that secret sauce and the culture that we have here.”

It's a job he has been preparing for since he was a player.

“I am excited about it and I am prepared for it. When I was in college I never had a weekend off from hosting recruits,” Bates said. “So, I am well-seasoned in it and I've been around recruiting. And I am going to use my natural gifts. You have to be you. That is what I will continue to do is be who I am and represent Clemson to the best of my ability.”

The increased visibility will help if Bates decides to pursue a job as a defensive coordinator or as a head coach one day, but for right now he’s happy learning from the best in the business.

“When I am ready for it. Right now I am learning a lot just being around Coach Swinney and Coach (Brent) Venables and Coach (Jeff) Scott and Coach (Tony) Elliott, and especially Coach (Robbie) Caldwell, who has some seasoning on him,” Bates said. “I just try to learn from all those great coaches. That is all I plan on doing is getting better every day. It's like practice - if you get better every day you have a chance to win on Saturday.”

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