Nate James has been named APSU’s 13th head coach in program history. APSU ATHLETICS

APSU men’s basketball has a new head coach in former Duke associate head coach Nate James.

Following a 14-year stint as an assistant and associate head coach under the legendary Mike Krzyzewski in Durham, N.C., James becomes the 13th head coach in program history for the men’s basketball program.

James played under Coach K from 1996-2001 and was a part of Duke’s 2001 National Championship team. Following the season, James began an eight-year professional career overseas. 

After retiring from his playing days, James returned to his alma mater and served as an assistant strength and conditioning before climbing the ranks of assistant and associate head coach.

“I’ve known Nate since he was 18 years old, and he’s been on our campus for nearly 20 years,” Krzyzewski said. “I’ve seen him grow from being a high school center, to becoming one of the most selfless leaders in Duke Basketball history to being an outstanding assistant coach. Austin Peay is getting a remarkable man, who is married to a remarkable woman, Bobbi. I could not be happier for them and their family, as I am for Austin Peay.

“Nate is a leader, a terrific worker and a trustworthy friend. You can count on anything that he says. He earned the respect of his teammates as one of the captains of our 2001 national championship team, and has since brought that championship mentality to our coaching staff. I will miss Nate immensely. Austin Peay has one of the great people in college athletics in Gerald Harrison as its director of athletics and he has made an amazing hire. I’m looking forward to seeing the success they’ll have together.”

During his 14 years on the sideline, the Blue Devils captured a pair of national championships in 2010 and 2015, five ACC Tournament Championships and had 30 players named to All-ACC honors, including National Player of the Year winners Marvin Bagley III and Zion Williamson.

Nate James spent 14 years as an assistant at Duke before becoming the head coach at APSU. | DUKE ATHLETICS
Nate James spent 14 years as an assistant at Duke before becoming the head coach at APSU.

A former Blue Devil himself after a decade in Durham as an assistant AD, APSU Director of Athletics Gerald Harrison expressed his excitement in his newest hire.

“I am excited to welcome Nate, Bobbi, Nate III and Dash to Austin Peay and introduce them to the Clarksville community,” Harrison said. “Nate is a man of incredible integrity who has been a huge part of one of college basketball’s most successful programs for much of the last two decades. He is committed to the student-athlete experience and the principles of the ‘Total Gov Concept.’

“His depth of experience, his ability to recruit and retain outstanding young men, and his desire to help them excel on and off the court will make him a huge asset to our university and our department. Simply put, Nate James is a champion and a leader. I am proud to say he is the head coach of the Austin Peay Men’s Basketball team.”

While his resume is already extensive as is, APSU will be the first time James garners the title of head coach, a position he is eager to step into.

“I’m extremely excited and honored to be the 13th head men’s basketball coach at Austin Peay State University,” James said. “To have the opportunity to lead my own program, be part of the amazing vision for a place like APSU and serve a community that embraces its university and student-athletes has been a dream of mine for quite some time. It is exactly what every coach wishes for.

“I will work endlessly to build a basketball culture with the type of culture that every player, alum, donor and fan will always be proud of. This is an amazing day to be a Gov! Let’s Go Peay!”

A formal welcoming event will be held in the Dunn Center at 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 6.