Pat Fitzgerald, Dan Persa, Al Netter and Brian Peters talked about NU's bowl berth
Randy Bates is in his eighth season directing Northwestern's linebackers unit and his 32nd year overall in the coaching profession. Bates assumed his current role at NU after Pat Fitzgerald was named the Wildcats' head coach in July, 2006.
Prior to arriving in Evanston, Bates spent six seasons at Louisiana Tech, serving as the team's defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2005.
During Bates' first season on staff in 2006, three of NU's top six tacklers belonged to the linebacking corps, led by Adam Kadela's team-high 80 tackles. Current Chicago Bears' linebacker Nick Roach, who missed the season's final four games because of injury, still finished fourth with 62 tackles.
In 2007, Kadela ranked 21st in the nation and third in the Big Ten with 125 tackles (10.4 pg), concluding his career just four shy of the coveted 300 mark. He earned consensus honorable mention All-Big Ten honors.
Bates' linebacking corps was a huge part of Northwestern's defensive resurgence in 2008. Senior Prince Kwateng ranked eighth in the Big Ten and among the nation's leaders with 8.2 tackles per game, leading an athletic group from his outside linebacker position. Bates' linebackers earned 24.5 tackles-for-loss in 2008, including 8.5 quarterback sacks. In 2009, Quentin Davie and Nate Williams combined to make 176 tackles (19.5 for loss) on their own. The entire group had 26.5 tackles-for-loss, bettering its stellar number from a year before.
In 2010, Bates had a deep and veteran group to coach, led again by Williams and Davie. Williams recorded 96 tackles and 9.5 tackles for loss to rank second on the team in both categories while Davie led the team with three interceptions, returning one for a touchdown, while harassing opposing QBs with a team-best six quarterback hurries. The pair combined for 29 tackles alone in the TicketCity Bowl. In addition, oft-injured junior Bryce McNaul was able to play in 11 games, showing his true potential with 62 stops.
Bates developed his position group to the point that all of the two-deep contributed well in 2010. Ben Johnson sealed NU's victory at Minnesota with a final drive interception while David Nwabuisi recorded 26 tackles and Damien Proby stepped in to start for McNaul when the junior was dinged up during the year.
Bates' contingent in 2011 regularly went six deep in the rotation, with Nwabuisi leading the NU defense with 8.5 TFL's on the year and finishing with 84 tackles. Proby assumed the starting middle linebacker position midway through the year and thrived in that role, while redshirt freshman Collin Ellis made 10 starts and developed a reputation as the team's hardest hitter. The unit's highlight of the year undoubtedly came in NU's 28-25 upset of No. 9 Nebraska on Nov. 5, when Proby, Nwabuisi and Ellis combined for 21 tackles, 4.0 TFL's, a forced fumble and a pass breakup while shutting down a heralded Nebraska running attack.
In 2012, Bates led a unit that was the strength of the 'Cats' defense all season long, with three starters -- senior David Nwabuisi, junior Damien Proby and sophomore Chi Chi Ariguzo -- ranking as the Wildcats' top three tacklers and all three garnering honorable mention All-Big Ten accolades.
A second-year starter, Proby ranked as the team leader and was sixth in the Big Ten in tackles with 9.0 per game, while Nwabuisi and Ariguzo each accounted for numerous big plays throughout the year. Nwabuisi led NU with three interceptions -- including one return for a touchdown -- while Ariguzo topped the Big Ten with four fumble recoveries to go along with his team-best 10.5 tackles for loss.
In 2005, Bates led Louisiana Tech to one of the school's top defensive performances in the last decade, which resulted in a 7-4 overall record and third-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference. The defense gave up the fewest points since 1994 and ranked fifth in the country in turnover margin.
While coaching the Louisiana Tech secondary, Bates mentored defensive back Tramon Williams who led the country in passes defensed with 19, which included 16 pass breakups and three interceptions.
In his six years with the Bulldogs, Bates served in numerous capacities, all on the defensive side of the football. He worked with the entire secondary in 2000 and 2001, the cornerbacks in 2002, linebackers in 2003, the entire secondary in 2004 and finally defensive coordinator and secondary coach in 2005.
Bates coached some of Louisiana Tech's top defensive standouts, which included former Chicago Bear Bobby Gray, current Dallas Cowboy Jerron Wishom (safety) and current Green Bay Packer Tramon Williams (cornerback).
Prior to Tech, Bates served as the linebackers coach and recruiting coordinator at Kent State University for two years where he coached Pittsburgh Steeler James Harrison.
Bates was the linebackers coach at New Hampshire from 1992 through 1997, during which time the program won three conference northern division titles and Bates coached three of the top 10 tackle leaders in school history. In 1994, New Hampshire went undefeated, won the Yankee Conference championship, was ranked No. 12 nationally in Division I-AA and reached the NCAA playoffs.
He also had coaching stints at Navy (1989-1992), St. Joseph's College (1984-1988), Miami (Ohio) (1983-84) and Muskingum College (1982-83).
He earned his bachelor's degree in physical education from Ohio State University in 1983 and his master's degree in education from Miami University in 1985.
Bates is a retired Naval Lieutenant.
Bates and his wife Tracey have three children, Samantha, Alexandra and Olivia.