Warhawk Football’s new big name



#2 Tommy Coates jumps and catches a game winning touchdown pass over a defender in the Warhawk football victory over then top ranked Mary Hardin-Baylor in Perkins Stadium on September 10, 2022.

Nick Walczak, Men’s Sports Journalist

After losing their first game, the UW-Whitewater football team is now on a tear. One of the reasons for their success is offensive weapon Tommy Coates. He is a sophomore wide receiver and has put together an impressive stat line up to this point in the season. 

Coates was a three-sport athlete in high school at De La Salle Institute in Chicago, Illinois, where he played football, basketball, and baseball. The talented receiver transferred to Whitewater last year from North Central College in Illinois. 

Last season for the Warhawks Coates played in six games and finished with two receptions for 13 yards. This season, he already has over 300 yards and has added five touchdowns. With two years of eligibility left, Coates looks to push himself and elevate his already existing skill set to new levels. 


Q: How long have you been playing football?

A: I’ve been playing football since about third grade for St. Gabriel grammar school. I was actually a running back when I was younger, and I switched to a wide receiver in high school.

Q: Why did you choose to come play at UW-Whitewater?

A: I have always wanted to come to Whitewater and play football. My decision became final when I decided I wanted to play football with my brother again who was on the football team here at Whitewater. I also loved the Whitewater facilities and the school. Really everything about the university made it an easy decision to come here. 

Q: Any favorite memories from playing football? Either here at UW-Whitewater or your years before college?

A: The Mary Hardin-Baylor game this year for sure is up there. Also, from when I was in high school, beating Mt. Caramel my junior year was huge. It was the first time my school beat them in like 25 years. 

Q: How does it feel to have the success individually and as a team that you have had this year?

A: It feels great being on a winning team. It also feels great because I’ve waited two years and put in my time and sat behind great players and got to learn from them. It feels good to have a bigger role than last year. It is a really great feeling to be able to help my team win and compete.

Q: What goals do you have individually and also as a team to finish out this season?

A: Our team goal has always been to win the conference. Coach sets that goal in camp before the season starts, and no one talks about it again. We just put our heads down and work. Goals for me individually would be to keep competing, producing, and helping my team win.

Whether you are a fan of the Whitewater football team or not, it is hard not to like a player with a strong work ethic. Nearing the end of the season, Coates and the Warhawk football team hope to finish strong.


The team travels to UW-Platteville Oct. 22 to take on the Pioneers before returning home for Whitewater’s homecoming game on Oct. 29. The team then travels to UW-Stout Nov. 5, and they close out the regular season on Nov. 12 at home for a senior day match up against UW-Stevens Point. Post season games and times will be announced at a later date.