We got the left hand layups going? Kid N’ Play what we got? We gotta get Cochran’s kid in the loose ball station that’s what we got to do. Hey can your dad shoot?
A little bit I bet you his dad would go through a wall to get a loose ball. What is this Nate Oats era going to look like and how will it be different from previous eras? You know everybody is their own man and they do things different and all previous coaches had their strengths and I will have my weaknesses, but shoot I’m a high school coach. Six years ago I will still teach coach in high school. I’ve got some energy. I’ve got how I wanna coach. I want guys to play free. I want guys to play with tons of confidence. We need shooters. We want to shoot the ball. I don’t want guys to ever pass up open shots. So if I’m gonna spend thousands of hours with you in the gym as a player I don’t need you looking at the bench. Like we have put all this work in go play? Greg Byrne, he is the one obviously who brought you here to Alabama. Recruited you to come to Alabama. What was the big sales pitch? greg has already raised a bunch. He is one of the best AD’s in the country. He is gonna support mens basketball. You know you don’t want to go somewhere you don’t have administrative support to get done what you need to get done. And really why would I leave Buffalo? We had it rolling. We were top 25 in the country after week one the rest of the year. But I thought if you could do it at another level where you can actually compete for go for the final four. And I think we can put a product of the floor that they can support and be proud of just like they are proud of their football program. Have the expectations risen to any degree knowing that you’ve got a team across the state, biggest rival, that just went to a final four If there able to make a final four you know Alabama has never been to a final four. Like there is talent level around this state, around this area. I think we can recruit talent to get to the final four here. So I think the expectations got raised, which isn’t bad I don’t mind that. The AD at Auburn was my boss at Buffalo so when it comes time to beat Auburn we are gonna have to let allen know that all friendships aside we gotta take care of business tonight. You have a wife Crystal and three beautiful daughters and your wife Crystal has battled a lot through her cancer and she is now in remission. In recovery and you are a champion for the cause why is that so meaningful for you? It’s been three years she has been cancer free anything we can jump in to help coaches versus cancer anything cancer related. If it wasn’t for all the research dollars you know spent on it she is probably not here. I just still remember the day we are in the office at buffalo and I’m meeting with my staff. We are in October in the thick of it. I think that next weekend was gonna be our next scrimmage. It’s my first year as a head coach. I’m in the middle of putting stuff on the board in my office. And I see all these missed calls from my wife. I said hold on fellas I will be right back let me step outside for a minute I will be right back in. I called her back like what’s wrong. It was double hit lymphoma. She is crying and I’m like… So I walk back in and I tell my staff I got to go. I didn’t tell them what was going on So I said play in practice. I don’t know if I will be back for practice or not, but I got to go. So I get home and I basically say I will take the year off. We didn’t know what it would entail, but she is great. I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for crystal. She says absolutely not you are not taking a year off. This is what we worked for. It’s not an I have arrived it’s a we like she has been there the whole time. I’m a way better husband and a way better father today than I was four years ago and there is a lot of circumstances surrounding the cancer that got us to that point where we had to address my role as a coach, my role as a father, and my role as a husband all overlaps. So I think it’s made me a better man, which in turns made me a better husband, father, coach, co-worker with my assistance, boss. I just think there is a lot of stuff when you get faced with reality like we did and you gotta make changes and I have made a lot of changes Still making changes. Still got to get better at a lot of stuff, but I’m a way different person than I was three or four years ago. We talked a little bit about football, have you had a chance yet to talk with Nick Saban at length? I would not say at length, but it been just me and him in the plane couple times. I obviously look up to him. I mean he is one of the best. Might be the best coach in all of team sports. I think you would be stupid not to try to learn some stuff from him. I asked him about showing up and watching fall camp. I’m gonna go over there and watch. Are you gonna get in on coach Saban’s noon time basketball league? I asked him. You know he had the hip surgery, I said you still gonna be able to play? He is like it’s the whole reason I got it done. So I’m sure he will be back playing. I gotta work on my game. I was down to 182. I got on the scale the other day I’m up to 200 pounds. Like I put on 20 pounds in the two and half months I have had the job. So the southern food is great and it’s really unhealthy. So what about the North and the South has maybe surprised you the most in terms of culture food whatever it may be? See people think the North and the South have so much different food, but I was in Detroit for eleven years. The Detroit food there is a lot of barbeque in Detroit it’s just that there is a lot of soul food. Ah here we go big time. You gonna put it on her side is that what you are doing. Yes this is all for her. They got an egg. You are gonna cut right into the egg and there is gonna be yolk all over. What are some of the hobbies that you enjoy doing with your wife and your kids We like to boat. So we go tubing on the boat get on the boat. That’s why we wanted a house on the lake. Me and my wife we like to go on walks with the dog. We gotta a dog. My daughters love it. The two youngest ones. Lexi has grown out of it a little bit she is 15, but they get the trampoline and jump them all the time. They will sit then they flip and hit their head or whatever. How anxious and excited are you to go and stand on the sidelines of that court and coach your team? I’m more excited to stand on the sidelines of that football team. That comes first. I think they are gonna give me a field pass I think. Hey somebody has been coaching you. Has coach Saban been coaching you on what to say here. I’m fired up man. I think when the first basketball game comes I’m gonna be excited, but it almost gonna be more a relief. Like we are finally here. Like you put all this work in. You are practicing all summer, all fall lets go. You never been to an SEC game? No I am excited about it. I have heard a lot about it. See Michigan has the big house right? The biggest stadium in the country. It’s too much like a wine and cheese crowd a lot. Obviously there is always a lot of talk about facilities and people want to know you know when are we getting upgrades, when are we getting renovations, when are things gonna be put in place. And obviously there is no timeline just yet on when Coleman Coliseum is gonna see that facelift that everybody is anxiously awaiting for how does that affect your program now and how do you sort of just… Honestly it almost has zero effect on our program right now. The coliseum when they redo it it’s gonna be way more for the fans than it is for the players and the coaches. Our practice facility is great, our weight room is great, our locker room is great. Everything that we spend 99 percent of our time in is great it doesn’t need to be upgraded. Have you gotten used to saying roll tide yet? Roll Tide. I think it’s like an amen in church too. Preacher says something great roll tide. Gotta let it roll.

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Dennis Veasley

11 thoughts on “A day in the life with Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats”

  1. Great production all the way Lauren! Thanks for, really enjoyed this and Coach Oats has got this long time die hard Bama fan fired up for round ball, just like I was during the C.M. and Wimp days.

  2. Roll Tide Coach Oats. He is the best pure coach at Alabama since C.M Newton imo. Greg Byrne do whatever is needed to keep Coach Oats at Bama for the long haul. Get thr stadium renovations done immediately.

  3. If Coach Oats is as successful as I hope, there could be an amazing 30 for 30, or SEC stories episode.

  4. I hope I'm proven wrong but a high school /midmajor coach in the SEC doesn't excite me. He has that deer in the headlights look.

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