Nick Saban’s Daughter Drops Wild Hint About Her Father Joining Nate Oats’ Coaching Team

Published 04/10/2024, 2:25 PM EDT

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Back in February, former Alabama football coach Nick Saban inspired Nate Oats and his team to a win. How? Well, one of college football’s coaching greats is good at giving pep talks. Now just three months after his retirement, his daughter Kristen has made a special request to Nate, hinting at his return to coaching, but not in the direction that fans would usually expect.

Kristen shared a photo of her father on X, wearing the Alabama crimson on the court with a basketball in his hands, with the caption, “The joy this photo brings me.” This prompted a fan to tag Alabama men’s basketball team coach Nate Oats and write, “unsung Assistant Coach.” Kristen then asked Nate to consider that Nick Saban has a lot of spare time on his hands after his retirement from football coaching.

She wrote, “Nate, Nick does have a lot of free time now. Just saying…” Nick Saban retired with seven national championships to his name, with six of those titles coming with Alabama. Despite Saban’s seemingly tenuous relationship with basketball, there is more than meets the eye.


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USA Today reported that Saban had texted Oats about having a “next play” mentality during the NCAA tournament. Oats said, “He’s a resource guy. He still has an office on campus. I’m going to use that resource. I think he’s the best team sports coach in the modern history of team sports and college athletics. Great to have there.” True to his words, Oats did pick another thing from Saban, the “rat poison talk.”

After his team reached the Elite Eight, Saban wanted his players not to be swayed by the media talk around them. Invoking the spirit of Saban, Oats revealed, “I told my players − Coach Saban calls it rat poison all the time. If you wanted you can get on your phone and look at social media and type your name in and see hundreds of people talking about how great you were.” 

This was before the Elite Eight game against Clemson and these words worked like a charm as Alabama won the game 89-82. Nick Saban’s influence on the Crimson Tide players was visible earlier in the season as well.

Oats had called in Saban ahead of their game against Texas A&M and revealed that the former football coach gave a pep talk to his players, where he talked about keeping the focus on the present, not the end goal.

Whatever Saban said clearly got through as Alabama won the match 100-75, with him watching from courtside. After the match, Alabama’s Rylan Griffen revealed, “He just said, ‘What do you want to do to get where you want to go?'” When he speaks, you just take everything in. He’s a living legend, so you take in everything he says and apply it to your own personal life.”

Could it be possible for Saban can take up a role at Alabama’s basketball team? While there are no confirmations about Saban’s return to the basketball court anytime soon, Nate Oats may not say no to that. In fact, Oats recalled the time when a phone call with Nick Saban saved the team’s future.

Nate Oats and his phone call with Saban that saved Alabama’s future

There will hardly be anyone in Alabama who doesn’t have Saban’s name etched onto their hearts. With the efforts of the mighty Nick Saban for almost 17 years toward the betterment of the team, he is a towering figure in the history of sports. As such, it wasn’t shocking to hear that Nate Oats called him for advice when his basketball team was in a pickle.

Oats said, “I think just about every year that he won a national championship they lost at some point during the year. Football’s obviously different, there’s a lot more games in basketball. But this year, they lost the Texas game and he did an unbelievable job of getting the season turned around. So I called him, like, how do we get this thing turned around this late?


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Before the call, the team had just suffered a devastating loss at the hands of Florida and after Saban’s advice, the team went on to make it to the program’s Final Four. The career of Saban might be over but his influence will continue to live on for years to come.


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Do you think Saban could join the world of basketball? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.


Written by:

Jeevesh Singh


One take at a time

Jeevesh Singh is an NFL writer at EssentiallySports.With a passion for the game's intricacies, his work focuses on the lives of NFL legends like Brady and Coach Prime, offering unique insights into their personalities and achievements. His writing style is characterized by a blend of analytical prowess and storytelling, providing readers with a comprehensive understanding of the NFL's most compelling narratives.
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Edited by:

Tripti Sarda