Defensive Back (1980-82)
Bill Bates was a second-team All-SEC performer with the Vols during his career. He played in 43 games racking up 255 tackles from 1979-83 before going on to a star career in the NFL with the Dallas Cowboys.
The Knoxville native won three Super Bowls and played in the 1984 Pro Bowl after being an undrafted free agent. He enjoyed a 15-year career in Dallas. He was inducted into the Greater Knoxville Hall of Fame in 2005 and is also a member of the 100-Year All-Tennessee Team.
Why I Wore the Number
"I wore number 40 because when I was in high school I wore 35 and when I arrived at UT, 35 was not available and they gave me some options on what number I could have worn. I chose number 40 due to the fact that 9/11 had occurred a few years before and there had been a lot of media coverage on Pat Tillman. Pat wore number 40 and as I looked into his story about how he sacrificed his entire NFL career for our country and showed tremendous amount of sacrifice and dedication for our country and I thought it would an honor to wear number 40 for the university of Tennessee and try and live my career at Tennessee with nothing but sacrifice and dedication toward the program."