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OU football: Sooners announce hiring of Clemson's Todd Bates as co-defensive coordinator, associate head coach

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OU football helmet at the Big 12 Media Days on July 16.

Oklahoma has hired Todd Bates as co-defensive coordinator and associate head coach, it announced on Tuesday. The news was first reported by TigerIllustrated's Larry Williams on Sunday. 

Bates will also serve as the Sooners' defensive tackles coach and helm the defense's run game. The 38-year-old coach was an assistant under OU head coach Brent Venables during their tenure at Clemson. 

"Todd brings tremendous passion and is a very relational coach," Venables said. "He's got a lot of gifts, but right at the top is his ability to communicate. He's just a great leader of men; really brings out the best in people. He's a technician as a coach and very tactical.

"He's very demanding of his players and they play incredibly hard for him because he's also very demanding of himself."

During his tenure as Clemson's defensive line coach since 2017 he mentored four All-American selections. The Heflin, Alabama native was named Rivals' recruiter of the year in 2019 and served as one of OU coach Brent Venables' top assistants during his time as defensive coordinator with the Tigers.

"He's been a grinder in this profession and has earned everything that he's gotten," Venables said. "You give him the slightest opportunity and he'll make the most of it; he just maximizes everything in front of him. He's an amazing husband and father, is a tremendous teammate and leader, and has wisdom beyond his years.

"And when it comes to recruiting, Todd is tenacious and is a bulldog. No challenge is too big for him, he turns over every stone and he quickly earns the trust of recruits and their families. We're so excited he's joining the OU family."

Before his stint at Clemson, Bates was an assistant at Idaho State and Jacksonville State. Bates was a former Alabama standout during his playing career from 2001-04, before signing as an undrafted free agent with the Tennessee Titans, with whom he played from 2005-06. 

With the hiring of Bates, the Sooners lack only a cornerbacks coach to complete Venables' new staff. 

"He makes everyone around him better," Bates said of Venables. "I'm just looking forward to helping him build this thing and impacting the lives of young men who are already at OU and the future Sooners who are on the way."

Assistant sports editor

Austin Curtright is a journalism junior and The Daily's assistant sports editor. He covers OU football and has previously covered OU men's basketball, softball and soccer.

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