Alabama men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats announced Tuesday the addition of five staff members, which include three assistant coaches, a strength and conditioning coach and a director of basketball operations.
The Crimson Tide’s first-year head coach retained Antoine Pettway from the previous staff and welcomes Charlie Henry and Bryan Hodgson as assistant coaches. Pettway returns for his ninth season as an assistant coach and 12th year on the UA basketball staff, while Hodgson rejoins Oats after spending the previous four seasons at Buffalo, helping the program reach new heights. Henry brings coaching experience at the NBA, G League and power-five levels to the Crimson Tide program.
In addition to the full-time assistants, strength and conditioning coach Mike Snowden and director of operations Adam Bauman both rejoin Oats at the Capstone after helping build a championship program at the University of Buffalo.
“I am really excited about the staff we put together,” Oats said. “I think we have a great combination. Having someone who has been here, knows the area well and has done a great job recruiting at Alabama in Pettway was important. I brought Bryan with me who helped me recruit the roster we had at Buffalo that had us in the top 25 all year. We’ve had a great track record together and he knows what I like, so we work well together. Then we have someone with professional experience at the highest level in Charlie, someone I’ve known for a long time as well. There’s a great comradery amongst the staff in the short time we’ve been here. I am a big believer in staff chemistry and I think we get along great. I am excited to work alongside this group of guys.
“All of these guys are non-ego guys. I don’t want a guy who thinks he’s above the program. From the head coach all the way down to the last manager for there to be no ego people. Let’s dive in and see what we can do to serve this program. I think all five of these guys are just like that. I anticipate for all of us to get better as we come to Alabama and establish the kind of culture we established at Buffalo.”
During his 14 seasons as a collegiate coach, Pettway has developed a reputation as one of the top recruiters not only in the Southeast, but in the nation. In its most recent national recruiter rankings, 247sports.com listed Pettway as the No. 1 recruiter in the nation for the 2019 class. Prior to that, he was ranked No. 3 nationally in 2017 and No. 9 in 2018, making it three consecutive years he has ranked among the nation’s top-10 recruiters.
Pettway played a key role in Alabama signing the program’s top recruiting class in school history. The 2017 class boasted two players among the top-25 recruits in the country in Collin Sexton and John Petty Jr., both five-star recruits as listed by Rivals.com, as well as two four-star players and a three-star, while four of the five signees were ranked among the top-100 players in the nation. According to the site, the Crimson Tide signing class was ranked as high as No. 6 in the nation.
“In getting to know Antoine over the past couple of weeks, he’s one of the best individuals I’ve ever met,” Oats said. “He’s got no ego, he’s not entitled and he’s got great relationships with our guys. I interviewed all the players when I first got here and the feedback I got on him was that he really cares about each of them. He recruited a lot of them and the fact that he helped sign the three guys coming in was big. I talked to a lot of people about him and it was all great. I thought it’d be good to have some continuity on staff and I am excited to work with Antoine.”
Hodgson comes to The Capstone after spending four seasons with Oats at Buffalo where they helped take the program to unprecedented heights. Hodgson helped guide the Bulls to three NCAA Tournament appearances and three Mid-American Conference tournament championships and a pair of MAC regular season titles. In addition, Buffalo reached the round of 32 in the NCAA Tournament in each of the past two seasons.
“Bryan is one of the best recruiters I’ve been around,” Oats said. “I initially hired him at Buffalo and he quickly proved that was one of the best decisions I made. He was able to get high-level talent and he’s got an eye for talent. He knows exactly how we want to play so there’s a chemistry there in terms of knowing who we want to bring in and what type of player we need.”
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. 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.
This past year, Buffalo finished with an impressive 32-4 overall record and a 16-2 mark in conference play. Both the 32 victories on the season and 16 conference wins were school record marks, beating the former records of 27 wins (27-9) and 15 MAC victories (15-3) which were set the previous year (2017-18). Over the past two seasons alone, the Bulls had a combined record of 59-13 overall and 31-5 in league play, setting the best two-year stretch in the 103-year history of the Buffalo program.
“I am beyond excited to continue working with Coach Oats,” Hodgson said. “He is hands down one of the brightest in the business. He will not be outworked and he’s a winner. He has won everywhere he has been. I fully trust my future in his hands. Alabama fans are going to be ecstatic about our style of play and his enthusiasm and energy.”
Henry comes to The Capstone after spending two seasons (2017-19) as the head coach of the Windy City Bulls, the NBA G League affiliate of the Chicago Bulls. This past year, the 33-year-old led his team to a 27-23 (.540) overall record, earning a spot in the playoffs for the first time and its first winning record in the franchise’s three-season history. While with Windy City, he coached second team All-NBA G League honoree Walter Lemon Jr., who would be called up to the Chicago Bulls on March 29. Additionally, Jakarr Sampson earned the team’s second call up on March 31.
“I’ve known Charlie for 10-plus years and gave him his first coaching job as my assistant coach at Romulus High School,” Oats said. “I’ve seen him climb the ladder. He works hard and has one of the sharpest minds around. I called him frequently while I was the coach at Buffalo to bounce ideas off him. He was an assistant coach in the NBA and head coach in the G League, so he has the knowledge of NBA concepts, but it’s also a big plus that was he in Division I at Iowa State for a few years so he has both sides.”
Henry’s first campaign with Windy City was highlighted by Bulls two-way player Antonio Blakeney earning G League Rookie of the Year honors. Following the season, both Blakeney and Ryan Arcidiacono were converted to standard NBA contracts.
Henry served as Oats’ assistant coach at Romulus High School in Detroit, Mich., during the 2009-10 season, finishing the year at 21-2 and ranked as high as No. 22 in the nation by USA Today.
“I could not be more thrilled to be joining Coach Oats at the University of Alabama,” Henry said. “I have seen first-hand his commitment to building a program, the passion he has for developing young men, the effort his teams play with and the admiration his players have for him. My wife Teisha and I are ecstatic to be a part of The University of Alabama and the Tuscaloosa community.”