It was Rashad Bates’ grandfather who first primed him for a lifetime of sports. Clarence L. Bates could rattle off statistics of any professional sports player – their team, their record, their hometown, their parents.
The youngster began to follow suit early on. He echoed his grandfather’s devotion – scanning box scores in the daily newspaper and studying sports almanacs. He attended every game he could, and he diligently followed his favorite players through their careers.
Bates, now 23, ran track, was the captain of his football team in high school and played football for a season at Albright College, but his real skill, he found, was sharing that passion for the sport with others.
The Vineland, N.J., native pursued that passion to West Virginia University for a change of scenery and to pursue his dreams at a Bowl Championship Series conference school.
At WVU, he studied general business with an emphasis in finance and management in hopes of someday becoming a football scout where he could combine his passion of sports with his gift for gab. He’ll join more than 2,600 other graduates on Dec. 20.
As a scout, Bates dreams of meeting athletes, getting to know them and finding out if they’re the right fit for a professional team. While working through his undergraduate career, Bates took on extracurricular activities that would allow him to spend all of his free time engaged in an athletic arena. His experience coaching at University High School in Morgantown and interning at Rice University’s athletic department cemented what has been a lifelong goal of his.
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“Being a scout would allow me to marry two things I love: sports and talking to people,” Bates said. “Sports runs through my veins, and I love being able to talk about it no matter who I’m with or where I’m at.”
Bates has been grooming his skill of getting to know people since he was a freshman who lived in the Evansdale Residential Complex – also known as Towers.
“I really didn’t know many people, coming from south Jersey, so every time I would have a meal – breakfast, lunch, dinner – I’d sit with someone new,” Bates recalled. “Some went on about their dinner, but most were receptive, and I got to know some people that way.”
Those relationships he built – many of which were rooted in sports talk – followed him through to the Student Government Association, where he ran as governor.
“A lot of people remembered me from those meals, and that helped when it came to campaigning,” he said.
Click here to read about Alicia Lauderman, another WVU student graduating Dec. 20.
While involvement in scouting for a professional football team is competitive and takes perseverance, Bates draws on inspiration from his grandmother to follow through with his goal.
“My passion for the sport of football came from my grandfather, but my drive and will to pursue it came from my grandmother,” Bates said.
His grandmother, Lena “Gloria” White, came from the South American country Guyana with just $100 in her pocket in the late 60s and climbed her way up to working for the mayor of New York City.
“She was an amazing lady, who just passed away in September, but she was always pushing everyone to do better – my mom, my aunt and my three uncles,” Bates said. “She worked in the purchasing office and really made a name for herself there, after coming from nothing.”
Click here to read about Courtney Belcher, another WVU student graduating Dec. 20.
Her hard work and determination laid a foundation for his ambition.
“She could do it, so I know I can,” Bates said.
With her in mind, Bates hopes to pursue a graduate degree so that he can further his skills before embarking on a full-time career.
“I want to be the full product, so when the opportunity presents itself, I will be ready,” he said. “I know this is what I am meant to be doing. When I step out in between those two white lines, I feel at peace.
“That’s my sanctuary.”
By Candace Nelson
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