- Feb 5, 2014
Nick Saban wasn’t the first head coach to contract COVID-19. During a Thursday Zoom call with reporters, Alabama basketball coach Nate Oats revealed that he too tested positive for the virus in July.
Oats believes he likely contracted the virus from one of his daughters, stating he experienced only mild symptoms. He’s hoping his positive test means he won’t have to worry about catching the virus again and will keep him coaching on the floor this season.
“Luckily for me, I got COVID back in July, so I don’t have to worry about it really, too much, anymore,” Oats said. "Technically I don’t have to wear a mask, but I try to wear a mask whenever I’m around people just to set the standard that that’s what we’re going to do to try to abide by everything.”
Oats’ announcement came after Saban and athletics director Greg Byrne tested positive for COVID-19 on Wednesday. Both Saban and Byrne are currently self-isolating at home with Saban likely set to miss No. 2 Alabama’s game against No. 3 Georgia on Saturday.
“Maybe I should’ve encouraged them to get it back with me in July, and they wouldn’t be worried about it right now,” Oats said. "I don’t have to worry about being around them, personally, myself. And I wasn’t around them.
"I think it’s unfortunate. I mean, shoot, it’s maybe the biggest football game in the SEC this year, and the best coach in the SEC is maybe not gonna be able to coach the game. That’s unfortunate for everyone involved, in my opinion. I don’t know what to say other than that. Hopefully, they’re both, as far as I’ve heard, fairly asymptomatic, I think. So hopefully they get through it here quickly and get back to doing their jobs.”
Alabama basketball held its first practice Thursday. According to NCAA rules, Alabama is allowed 30 practices between now and Nov. 25. Alabama has yet to announce its official schedule but is set to open up the Maui Invitational on Nov. 30 against Stanford in Asheville, N.C.