The NFL Alumni Northern California Chapter is pleased to announce Larry Bates as our Alumnus of the Month for July!
Larry Bates was born in Aiken, South Carolina on March 21, 1954. At five, Larry’s parents moved to Jacksonville, Florida, where they raised 14 children!
In high school, Larry set school records which still stand today. His high school accomplishments earned him a scholarship to Arizona Western Junior College where he was the first and only one of his siblings to attend college. During his first year at Arizona Western, his team won the national title and Larry was named “Most Valuable Player.” Later that year, he was named to the “First Team American” and was designated “Player of the Year.”
After his two seasons at Arizona Western, Larry attended the University of Miami where he earned a B.A. in Education. At Miami, he soon earned the respect of his peers and coaches and was named team captain. Unfortunately, four games into his senior year while playing against Joe Montana and the Fighting Irish, Larry injured his left knee and was out for the rest of the season.
Despite his injury, Larry was drafted by the Seattle Seahawks in the 5th round in 1976. He soon impressed the Seattle coaching staff with his size and speed but then suffered yet another serious injury to the knee. After a prolonged recovery and a short stay with the B.C. Lions, Larry was picked up by the San Francisco 49ers. It was while with the 49ers that Larry sustained his final career-ending injury.
After a few years working as a motion picture Production Assistant for Walt Disney Productions, Larry moved to San Jose where he began a career in the insurance field. He worked for the California State Automobile Association before moving on to State Farm Insurance Company where he has been for the past 19 years.
Larry is currently the Vice President of the Northern California Chapter of the NFL Retired Players Association and was recently appointed their media ambassador during the 2010 player strike. He tirelessly volunteers much of his time to the Chapter’s many community service and fundraising events as well as several of his other favorite charities. He is on the board of “Fence at the Top”, a youth mentoring program. Also, each Christmas Larry and his good friend, former San Francisco 49er Todd Lewis, carry on a long-standing tradition of the Charles Reid Foundation, founded by Todd’s grandfather, of passing out toys to thousands of children in the economically disadvantaged Richmond, California area. Larry also gives his time each year to the American Cancer Society’s Courageous Kids event. He has also contributed his time and money to many of his other favorite charities including the Willow Glen Care Center, the George Marks Children’s Hospice, Semper Fi, Pros for Youth, Inc., the NFL Plays for Kids, the Kidney Foundation of Northern California, the Providence Council of San Francisco, the San Francisco Fire Fighter’s Association’s annual Christmas toy-giving event, the American Diabetes Society, S.M.A.R.T. Students, the University of Miami and many, many others.
When Larry is not working or participating in his many charitable activities, he spends his time golfing, boating and traveling the world. Please join us in honoring Larry as our Alumnus of the Month!