The Beatles pioneered innovation in music. Perhaps the prime example was “A Day In The Life.” Decades later, we can examine revealing portraits about people from various professions and backgrounds in contemporary day-in-the-life interviews, documentaries, etc. Such is the case with new University of Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats, too.
In just under 10 minutes, one learns a lot about Oats’ personality, passion for coaching, family and zest for life.
In the past few months, Oats, who was hired in late March, has started to put his stamp on the Crimson Tide basketball program.
As seen on the video, produced by AL.com, Oats has big expectations for Alabama after a successful four-season stint at the University of Buffalo, where his team compiled a 96-43 record: 20-15 in 2015-16, 17-15 in 2016-17, 27-9 in 2017-18 and 32-4 this past season. The Bisons made back-to-back trips to the NCAA Tournament in the last two seasons. (He succeeded ex-NBA guard Bobby Hurley at Buffalo.)
What’s more, as noted in an Alabama athletics department news release, Buffalo’s rise in national prominence occurred under his watch.
“The Bulls were ranked for 20 weeks in the Associated Press Top-25 throughout the 2019 season, which marked the first time in school history the program had earned a national ranking,” the news release stated. “Buffalo went on to climb as high as No. 14 in the nation which was the highest ranking by any MAC team in past 40 years. Additionally, the 32 victories on the year was the most wins ever by any Mid-American men’s basketball program.”
Speaking to AL.com, the 44-year-old Oats outlined his approach to coaching.
It began by answering a straight-forward question: “What is the Nate Oats era going to look like and will it be different than other eras?”
“Everybody is their own man and they do things differently and the previous coaches have their strengths and I’ll have my weaknesses,” Oats said. “But … six years ago, I was coaching high school. I’ve got some energy. I want guys to play free. I want guys to play with a ton of confidence.”
University of Alabama football coach Nick Saban is one of the greatest leaders of all time in his sport. For a Saban-coached team, a national title is the expectation every year.
Working on the same college campus as Saban, Oats admitted he’ll try to soak up some of Saban’s impressive knowledge about leadership.
“He is one of the best, he might be the best coach in all of team sports (today),” Oats told AL.com. “It is stupid not to try to learn some stuff from him.”
Oats said he’ll make time to go watch some of Alabama’s fall football practices. That way, he’ll have chances to observe Saban running the show.
Before joining Buffalo as a top assistant to Hurley, Nate Oats earned distinction at Romulus High School in Michigan. He guided the varsity team to a 222-52 record and seven straight conference titles in 11 seasons.
Ex-NBA guard and bench boss Avery Johnson coached Alabama from 2015-19.