Charlie "Charles" Bates was the 15th head football coach for the Kentucky State University Thorobreds located in Frankfort, Kentucky and he held that position for two seasons, from 1968 until 1969. His career coaching record at Kentucky State was 2 wins, 15 losses, and 0 ties. As of the conclusion of the 2007 season, this ranks him 19th at Kentucky State in total wins and 25th at Kentucky State in winning percentage (.118).
In 1972, Bates succeeded Alva Tabor as Southern University's 10th head football coach. After a tulmultuous 2-7-1 start to his career at Southern, Bates and the Jaguars posted two eight win seasons (1974,1976) and a nine win season in 1975 that saw Southern capture a share of the SWAC Championship along with Grambling State and a Pelican Bowl victory against South Carolina State University. After a rough 3-3-1 start to the 1977 season, Bates stepped down mid-season, and Ken Tillage took over coaching duties for the rest of the 1977 season. During his tenure at Southern, Bates favored the Wishbone offensive formation, and from it, the Southern offense was based upon. Charlie Bates won 36 games as coach for Southern, losing 23, and tied twice for a winning percentage of (.606). This percentage places Bates fourth behind Ace Mumford (.730), Brice Taylor (.725), and Pete Richardson (.688)