Open Letter: A message from Coach Nate Oats

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CW / Hannah Saad

Nate Oats, Head Men's Basketball Coach

Welcome back to Tuscaloosa! On behalf of the Alabama Crimson Tide and your men’s basketball players, coaches and staff, we are excited to have you back on campus for the 2020-21 academic year. It is not the same without you here and your return to the Capstone tips off what should be a sensational and successful fall semester.

We share with you the anticipation and sense of adventure that routinely surrounds the start of every school year. We also realize that this year presents us all with unprecedented and unique challenges that no other student has had to face at The University of Alabama.

We are fortunate to be led and surrounded by the best of the best in every aspect of your collegiate experience. Our leaders, President Dr. Stuart Bell, Director of Athletics Greg Byrne and the entire UA system along with the top medical and community advisors have been proactive in preparing so you, our student body, have the best ways to stay safe, stay informed and stay protected as we go through these unchartered waters together.

 I wanted to take this moment to convey how important each and every one of you are to our program. The simple fact is you are the lifeblood of our great University. The support and enthusiasm you have for Alabama Athletics, our basketball program and the Capstone is unwavering – no matter what obstacles lie in our path.

Sticking together is something I continuously stress to our basketball team and it is something I would like to echo to all our students. No matter where the path to success leads you, getting through any sort of adversity is going to make you stronger. And by looking out for each other as well as adhering to the policies that have been put in place by our leadership, we can show why The University of Alabama is such a special place. There is a reason why the Alabama brand is known around the world – not only because of the obvious success of our football program (of which I am a huge fan), but because of the investment you make in our program and in one another.

To the new students who arrived on campus this semester, a year ago I was in your shoes. My family and I didn’t know what to expect coming into last year. Sure, we had heard of the great atmosphere, fan support and southern hospitality, but we were all blown away with the love you showed my family and how welcomed you made us feel. We were greeted with open arms and that is the same way I want you to feel as you begin your first semester.

Before closing, I would be remiss if I didn’t express how much we are looking forward to the 2020-21 men’s basketball season. Not only do we return all-conference players Herbert Jones, John Petty Jr. and Jaden Shackelford, but we also welcome the nation’s No. 9-ranked signing class to campus. You’re going to love this team and the grit and determination that they play with every minute of every game. And with that in mind, I have to tell you how much it means to our team to have the student section packed and so enthusiastically vocal from start to finish. Your voice makes a huge difference and everyone feeds off your energy and support! Our students were fantastic last year and I challenge each of you to bring even more spirit and passion to each game this season and continue to make Coleman Coliseum one of the most intimidating places for opposing teams to visit. 

Thank you to The Crimson White for providing me with this platform and allowing me an opportunity to communicate directly with you, our student body. We appreciate the support you provide and wish you each health, happiness and a tremendous fall semester.

Stay Safe, Stay Healthy and Roll Tide!