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Vinay Patel

Head Men’s Basketball Coach 

Works in the Freede Center, second floor Jim Wade Suites
At OKCU since October 2015

What do you do at OKCU? 

Vinay works with 15 members of the men’s basketball team, both coaching them and monitoring them academically to help them be successful overall. 

Vinay hung a sign-in sheet on his door where team members check in before class every morning “so I know they’re awake and moving around and heading to the right spot for the day,“ he said. “It gives me five minutes with each kid each day to meet and talk with them and get to know them a little bit better.” 

“Most days, I’m here 7:15 in the morning, and I don’t go home until 7 at night,” Vinay said. People may think basketball is just practice and games, but “there’s so much more that we’re doing every day. My assistant coach was studying with a player last night until 10 because he had a Spanish test this morning.” 

“We’re doing whatever we can to help put them in position to graduate. That’s what could change their life. Essentially, they’re using basketball as a tool to get their degree. I want them to leave with something that’s going to better them for the rest of their lives.” 

What have you done in your career? 

Vinay coached for 10 years as an assistant, starting as a graduate student at West Texas A&M University, followed by a year at Rogers State University in Claremore. He has bachelor’s and master’s degrees in exercise and sport science from Texas Tech and West Texas A&M. 

What do you like about working here? 

“Every day our expectations are sky high,” Vinay said. For some teams, a winning season is great. “At the end of the day, our goal is a national championship because it’s proven that can be accomplished here. I sell a championship experience: having an opportunity to win a championship and having an opportunity to get a degree. You’re teaching kids to achieve at the highest level, on and off the floor.” 

Vinay enjoys working with students at a time in their lives when they’re figuring out who they want to be. The basketball staff has worked really hard at creating individual relationships with players, he said. The better the relationships are, the more they can positively affect the players. 

What do you tell your players every day? 

“I want them to achieve at their maximum level every day—in the classroom, on the floor, in whatever they do. I’m big on being on time. … I think a lot of these guys, they just need someone to hold them accountable. … I think these guys have a better chance for success because they have someone in their corner, helping them along the way, helping them stay on top of things.” 

Do you have favorite moments as a coach? 

“I would say yes, but we’ve won 15 games at the buzzer in two years. Those have been great. I’ve had a lot here. Getting to see the guys walk the stage in May—I would say that’s been better than any game that we’ve won because of how much that’s going to affect them down the road. 

“Last year (2016–17), we won 20 games—the most in 10 years. We reached No. 5 in the country—the highest in 10 years. We had a player of the year in the conference—that was the first time in 10 years. We achieved so much last season. I think this year is the best to come of the three I’ve been here.” 

What’s something people may not know about you? 

Vinay and his wife, Megan Patel, OKCU’s assistant women’s basketball coach, are from small towns in West Texas. They’re enjoying living in a major city for the first time, where they have the opportunity to do as much — play Top Golf and try new restaurants — or as little — stay home with their two dogs — as they want.