Fambrough: Tales of a sports activities life — longtime Capitol coach Roman Bates leaves a legacy past soccer | Excessive College Sports activities
It is never easy to sum up a life well lived in a few stories or anecdotes. Those about longtime Capitol football coach Roman Bates could fill a book.
He was a high school coach who won 225 games. He was a mentor. A star athlete at Southern University. Most of all, Bates was a person who influenced many people’s lives, which is why so many honors came after Bates died on Friday at the age of 86.
Even before that, it was never difficult to get other coaches and former players to share their stories. Here are a few.
In the mid-1990s, Capitol was in a basketball district with Glen Oaks, Belaire, and Central. The Lions were due to meet with Central in the district playoff game, and Bates had an idea over lunchtime with former player and Lions basketball coach, Alvin Stewart.
Bates used the items on his tray to illustrate a version of a lightning defense in which two “guards” would run towards the shooters on top of the key. The Lions won and it became part of Stewart’s defensive repertoire.
“If you’ve played for Coach Bates, you knew he was playing defense (at Southern) and he loved to flash,” said Stewart. “I named (the defender) the lightning for him and he asked why. It was his defense. “
By the hair
Bates and legendary John Curtis coach JT Curtis trained together in an LHSCA Football All-Star game in the late 1970s. Their friendship lasted for decades.
As the coaches had planned for the week, Bates asked Curtis a question he never expected about afro hairstyles. Curtis turned the question around and asked Bates for his opinion.
“He said he didn’t like her, so I said, ‘Roman, would you like to take the lead for us,” Curtis said. “And he did. Some guys got a trim. We had a great week training together. Roman … he was something. “
Bates was a role model for former soccer coach Mike Roach of Southern Lab and Madison Prep. While learning a work ethic from Bates at the Capitol, Roach said he also played in the high school game of his life.
Capitol took to the streets defeating Covington, one of the state’s top programs in the 1970s.
“It was by far the biggest game of my high school career,” said Roach. “Covington had a quarterback, Curt Baham, who later played for Tulane. It was physical and we kicked (Baham) out of the game.
“Then we took the lead with five or six minutes to go. Nobody thought an inner city school could do that. Covington hadn’t lost at home in years. We carried Coach Bates on our shoulders that night.”
About those socks
Bates made a bet with his players the year Capitol advanced to the Class 4A title game at the LHSAA Prep Classic. When the Lions made it to the title game, Bates removed his training pants and wore a pair of the red knee socks the players wore.
The Capitol players stopped at the end of the deal, as did Bates, who wore shorts to show off those red socks. Curtis won the game 16-0, but the then 64-year-old Bates undoubtedly won some admirers.
There are many more. Of the Bates honors I’ve seen over the past two days, one stands out.
Mark Temple, the East Iberville girls’ basketball coach, approached Bates a few years ago. Temple asked Bates how he managed to train for so long.
The answer: “Do everything for love.”
Good words for life I think.