Nate Oats named new head basketball coach

Photo courtesy of roll

Ben Stansell , Assistant Sports Editor

When it was announced on Sunday that Alabama would be parting ways with former basketball coach Avery Johnson after four years, a cloud of uncertainty formed over the basketball program.

Athletics Director Greg Byrne promised to restore stability with an expeditious coaching search at a press conference the next day, but that didn’t stop several Alabama players from entering their names in the NCAA transfer portal over the next two days.

On Wednesday afternoon, Byrne delivered on his promise, hiring Buffalo’s Nate Oats as the 21st Alabama men’s basketball coach in program history.

“We are thrilled to welcome Nate and Crystal Oats and their three daughters to The University of Alabama,” Byrne said in a press release. “I have been watching Coach Oats for the last few years as he has led the University at Buffalo to unprecedented heights. His commitment to developing the student-athlete both on and off the court was what really stuck out.”

Oats will take over the Crimson Tide program after a successful four-year stint at Buffalo. During his tenure with the Bulls, Oats compiled a 96-43 record and advanced to the NCAA tournament three times. He was named the Mid-American Conference Coach of the Year in both 2018 and 2019.

Buffalo finished this season with a 32-4 overall record and was fifth in scoring with 84.9 points per game. Buffalo was also top-25 in defensive rating. The Bulls were bounced in the second round of the NCAA tournament this season by Texas Tech after beating Arizona State in the first round.

“Coach Oats has an impressive background,” UA President Stuart Bell said in a press release. “He is exactly what we were looking for in this search. I’m excited about the future of Alabama basketball, and I know our fans are as well.”

The 44-year old coach has risen through the coaching ranks quickly. Prior to joining Buffalo’s staff as an assistant in 2013, Oats served as the head coach at Romulus High School in Michigan for 11 years, where he won the school its first state title in the 2012-13 season.

“As we spoke to some of the best college and pro basketball minds in the country, his name came up time and time again,” Byrne said. “Coach Oats will hit the ground running starting tonight, and we look forward to him having a long and successful career with the Alabama Crimson Tide.”

Coaching Resume

Overall Record:


Previous Jobs:

Buffalo head coach from 2015-2019

Buffalo assistant coach from 2013-2015

Romulus High School coach from 2002-2013

Career Highlights:

Finalist for 2019 Werner Ladder Naismith Men’s College Coach of the Year

MAC Coach of the Year (2018, 2019)

2013 Detroit News State Coach of the Year

Most wins (32) by a MAC team in a single season (2018-19)

MAC Conference Tournament Champion (3x)

Three NCAA tournament appearances