The new men’s basketball coach enjoys big-city living, trying new restaurants, going to concerts with his wife, and watching the Dallas Mavericks.
Vinay Patel started at OCU on Oct. 15 by leading the team’s practice. He replaced Dionne Phelps, former head coach, who left Oct. 9 to be assistant coach at Oakland University in Rochester, Mich.
“Phelps did a tremendous job,” Patel said. “He should be proud of the accomplishments he had. My goal is to continue the tradition.”
Patel spent the 2014-15 season as assistant coach at Rogers State in Claremore, Okla., and previously served as interim head coach at West Texas A&M in Canyon. The universities are National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II schools. He said he came to OCU to be a head coach.
The players have reacted well to him, Patel said.
“I’ve been working hard to get to know each of them individually and they’re responding well,” Patel said. “They’re fun to coach because they’re good listeners and hard workers. There haven’t been any complaints.”
The players also seem to think it is going well.
Vinay Patel said he enjoys spending time with his wife, Megan, although he never has much time to spend during season.
When they do find time to spend together, the couple enjoys going out to eat at new restaurants. Patel said trying new food places is his favorite part about Oklahoma City.
They also enjoy going to concerts together as much as possible. Patel’s favorite basketball team is the Dallas Mavericks.
“The team I’m coaching is obviously my favorite,” Patel said. “But I grew up as a Mavs fan. I have family in Dallas and it’s been long-term. I grew up with them and they’re fun to follow.”
OCU’s first game is during Homecoming against Southwestern Oklahoma State at 2 p.m. Nov. 7 in Abe Lemons Arena in Henry J. Freede Wellness and Activity Center.
“We’re just taking it day-by-day,” Patel said. “That’s what I keep telling the team, ‘let’s see how much better we can be day- by-day,’ and by doing that, we can find success along the way.”