C.M. Newton Classic 2022 features two coaches with a special bond

Published: Jun. 16, 2022 at 5:57 PM CDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WBRC) - The C.M. Newton Classic in Birmingham honors former Alabama Men’s basketball head coach, C.M. Newton.

Newton was the first to integrate the men’s basketball team at the University of Alabama.

This year’s game features a premiere matchup between Alabama and a West Coast Conference power.

After going to Seattle and beating Gonzaga on their court, Alabama is hosting the Bulldogs in Birmingham in this year’s C.M. Newton Classic.

This home and home series, stemming from a friendship that goes way back to the bubble.

Bama coach, Nate Oats, and Gonzaga’s longtime leader, Mark Few, formed a bond during the 2021 NCAA Tournament.

“Kinda had your yard time if you will, you’re in the bubble and you got to go out to that baseball field, I was walking and running and he was doing the same,” Oats said.

And of course talkin’ a little ball.

“Next thing you know he was asking if we would play him out there,” Oats said.

Alabama played, and won! Now it’s the Tide’s turn to host the Bulldogs December 17, 2022 in Legacy Arena.

“Those are some games, players like to play in coaches like to coach in,” Oats said.

But the coaches’ relationship goes beyond basketball.

“He’s got a nice lake house out there, we go back and forth, he’s a surfer, we both have surf boats,” Oats said.

A cross-country bond over wake surfing.

“Yeah I like it, it’s nice,” Oats said.

And apparently in a short amount of time, Oats has gotten pretty good!

“I’ve been sending them videos, he is still trying to catch up, he hasn’t gotten the 360 that I know I beat him to it,” Oats said.

December isn’t the time to hit lakes in Alabama, so no surf-off will happen before the classic, but Oats says you can expect a battle- as Bama defends their court against a Zags team looking for revenge.

“I think you guys have gotten to know me well enough, we aren’t shying away from playing any big games around here,” Oats said.

Tickets go on sale later this year, with season ticket holders getting early access July 11.


Subscribe to our WBRC newsletter and receive the latest local news and weather straight to your email.

Copyright 2022 WBRC. All rights reserved.