Coaching in the shadow of Lombardi

In about two weeks, local fans of the National Football League will get to see hometown boy-gone-pro Jim Bates, again walking the sidelines.
Bates, who graduated from Oxford High School in 1964, is defensive coordinator for one of the NFL’s most storied franchises ? the Green Bay Packers.
‘Jim was in town about two weeks ago,? said Bud Laidlaw, Bates? uncle. ‘And, he’s enthusiastic as ever. He could have gone to six other places, but thought the Packers offered the best fit.?
Bates, 59, was named defensive coordinator on January 31. According to the Packer’s official website (, ‘Bates brings to the Packers a fiery intensity and proven record of coordinator success.?
Midway through last season, Bates was named interim coach of the Miami Dolphins.
His record was 3-4 in the final seven games of the 2004 season, including a 29-28 win over eventual Super Bowl Champion New England on December 20.
Before the head coaching job, Bates was the Dolphins? defensive coordinator for five seasons (2000-2004).
According to the Packer website, his defensive units cumulatively ranked fifth in the NFL, never in one season ranking lower than 10th.
Since being dropped off in the University of Tennessee parking lot in 1964, Bates has spent most of his football career in warmer climate cities.
Before the Miami gig, he coached linebackers for the Dallas Cowboys for two seasons.
He has coached the pros in both the NFL and the now defunct United States Football League in Atlanta, San Antonio and Arizona (with a couple of stints in Cleveland and one in Detroit mixed in for good measure).
‘I was a little surprised he chose Green Bay. It’s cold up there,? Uncle Bud said.
Laidlaw also reported Bates said coaching in Green Bay is different from anywhere else.
‘Green Bay is unique. It’s really a small community and the club is owned by the people. There are a lot of community events. ‘It’s all football up there,? he said. ‘Right now they love me in Green Bay ? wait until a team scores 40 against my defense.??
On Aug. 11, the preseason kicks off for the Packers. The 7 p.m. game against the Dolphins will be aired on ESPN.