He didn’t have a role model, so he became one

How one question changed everything

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Nicholas “Nic” Oats of Mount Olive has heard the adage “leave the world better than how you found it,” but for him, those aren’t just words — it’s a life motto. The WeUp Athletic Group started out as a dream 11 years ago and in 2017, Oats turned his dream into reality.

The WeUp Athletic Group is a team of young people who train with Oats where and whenever they can.

All schools in Wayne County are represented in WeUp and Oats says he hopes to continue to expand the program.

“Honestly this isn’t a local dream, this is a global dream of mine,” he said. “The more people that come in, the more people I can impact.”

Oats is a 2010 graduate of Southern Wayne High School and even in the days before his graduation, his eyes were set on coaching. Oats is only 27 years old, but he’s spent 11 of those years helping out with the Mount Olive Parks and Recreation Department. His dream of influencing kids through sports slowly became more real as those months and years went on.

Coming from Southern Wayne and growing up in Mount Olive, Oats says there were not many role models and leaders to look up to so as a young man, so he promised himself that he’d just become one. Coaching kids from ages 6-15 since 2008, Oats has gained a lot of support and trust among local athletes.

He keeps his training repertoire open to accommodate kids from all backgrounds and all sports. Oats’ mainstay is basketball but he has ventured out into soccer, baseball and even tennis.

“I continued to push myself because I know I can impact the kids and the more I give out, the more we as a whole will benefit,” Oats said. “That’s what this is, WeUp is literally we are up next as a group. We work hard so that we can get the results that we want and we always [say it’s] we before me. By setting the we-before-me tone here, it will help them as they go out into the world because we can’t do anything alone and if it’s me-before-we, then we’re going to be alone and nothing gets accomplished then.”

Oats gets a lot of his motivation from the music he listens to. Nipsey Hussle who was killed in April of this year is one of Oats’ biggest motivators in his journey. Hussle coined the term “The Marathon Continues” and Oats consistently talks to his kids about what that means.

“In life, things will happen to you but it’s about how you bounce back which makes the difference. Life is a marathon and not a sprint and it will continue even after adversity,” he said.

Oats doesn’t have millions of dollars to give back to his community, but he does have time and he says he devotes his life to giving that as much away as he can for the greater good of others. Under his guidance, along with the help of many other coaches, Oats has three kids, who he has personally trained since 2017, make it to the college level for their respective sports and he says he hopes to add more.

“Our biggest thing we do here is try to set kids up to be better athletes, people and learners. If we can help these kids walk across the college stage without any college debt, why wouldn’t I do that?” he asked.

“This has always been bigger than me, I know what my purpose is and I’m going to do the best I can because to me, if you aren’t using your purpose then you’re wasting it,” Oats said. “I want all my kids to know that it is possible, it doesn’t matter where you come from or what school you go to, it is possible. I asked myself when I was younger ‘Why not me?’ and I challenge all my kids to ask themselves the same thing ... ‘why not me?’”

Oats is the head junior varsity coach at Wayne Country Day School and is the assistant varsity basketball coach at Wayne Country Day. For more information on the WeUp program, call 919-988-7002 or visit We The Family @WeUpAG on Facebook or @Weupag on Instagram.

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