Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Alabama Basketball adds third new assistant coach this offseason

CW / David Gray
Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats shouting from the sidelines in a game against Maryland during March Madness on March 18 at the Legacy Arena in Birmingham, Ala.

In addition to recruiting talent through the transfer portal this offseason, Nate Oats has been busy collecting new talent for his coaching staff after all three of his former assistants accepted head coaching positions at other programs.  

With the hiring of former Creighton University assistant coach Preston Murphy on July 3, Oats has now filled all three vacant spots on his coaching staff.  

Murphy is taking on the role of “Special Assistant” on the coaching staff, according to the University’s official announcement. 

“I’m pleased to be completing our basketball staff with the addition of Coach Murphy,” Oats said. “He was a highly sought-after candidate, and we were fortunate he was most interested in joining our program.”  

Murphy has coached at the Division I level for over a decade, serving as an assistant coach at both Rhode Island and Boston College before his recent stint with Creighton. Murphy also played professionally in both Belgium and Holland after a successful collegiate career at Rhode Island, where he played four seasons.  

“It’s a privilege to join Alabama Athletics and become a part of the great Crimson Tide tradition — it’s an honor I will work every day to deserve,” Murphy said.  

This new hire comes just a couple of months after the team announced the first two new assistants that would be joining Oats’ coaching staff.  

On April 18, Oats announced the hiring of Austin Claunch, who most recently served as head coach at Nicholls State for five seasons, two of which ended in Southland Conference regular season titles. Before that, Claunch spent time as an assistant coach at both George Mason and Clemson.  

“I am extremely excited and thankful for the opportunity to join Coach Oats’ staff,” Claunch said. “The max effort, continuous growth and selfless love established here is evident, even from afar, and I look forward to being a part of this team.” 

A little under two months later, the team announced the hiring of New Orleans Pelicans assistant coach Ryan Pannone. 

“Over my last four years at Alabama, I have gotten to know Ryan through his work with the Pelicans organization. He is one of the brightest minds in the game of basketball and a relentless worker,” Oats said. 

Pannone brings 20 years of coaching experience to the program, beginning his coaching career in 2003 at Oldsmar Christian School. Pannone served as an assistant coach at Wallace State Community College during the 2011-12 season and then coached at the professional level in China, Germany, Slovakia and Israel for several years before winding up in the Pelicans organization in 2019.  

“Coach Oats leads a team that competes with NBA-style ball and runs NBA sets, so to have the opportunity to leverage my NBA experience to mentor and raise up student athletes was a rare and rewarding offer I couldn’t pass up,” Pannone said. 

With the assistant coaching positions now filled and the roster having only one open scholarship remaining, this year’s Alabama basketball team is nearing completion.  

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