TULSA, OK (WKBW) — They say some opportunities present themselves when we least expect them to. That was the case for Nate Oats back in 2013.
"He gave me a shot in this business," Oats said. "I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for him."
Oats was in the midst of a decade long-job at a high school in Detroit, when a man named Bobby Hurley noticed his talents. Shortly after, Oats was offered a job at the Division-I level with the UB Bulls.
Oats joined the UB men's basketball program as an assistant to then new-coach Bobby Hurley. The two worked alongside eachother until 2015 when Hurley left for Arizona State. Oats became the head coach for the Bulls and has since continued to build the progam.. partly behind the knowledge he gained from coaching under Hurley.
On Friday, they'll be back on the sideline together, but on different benches as UB takes on the Sun Devils in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It'll be a bittersweet moment as the coaches put aside their friendship for some good-old fashioned competition.
"Not an ideal situation to have to play him because we both like to see each other continue to go and one of us will not be able to continue," Oats said. "So, we're gonna try to beat him, he's gonna try to beat us and we'll still be good friends afterwards."
Only one can move on as UB and Arizona State tip off Friday afternoon for a spot in the round of 32.