Alabama basketball joined the coaching carousel earlier this week, when Avery Johnson’s tenure at the school came to an end following a four-year term. The school and Johnson agreed to a parting of ways and negotiated a buyout, leading to the Crimson Tide job opening up on Sunday. Fast forward to Wednesday afternoon and the school has found its replacement.
Buffalo coach Nate Oats, considered one of the best up-and-coming coaches in college basketball, will make the trek from Western New York to Tuscaloosa. The news was broken by Cecil Hurt of the Tuscaloosa News.
Soon after, both Alabama athletic director Greg Byrne and the official basketball Twitter account for the program announced that Oats will head to the SEC.
Oats took over at Buffalo following Bobby Hurley’s departure for Arizona State. During his four years at the helm, Oats turned the Bulls into a mid-major darling, making three NCAA Tournaments during his tenure. Buffalo beat Deandre Ayton and the Arizona Wildcats in the 2018 tournament, and this season, the team won 32 games before bowing out at the hands of Texas Tech in the round of 32.
The 44-year-old Oats helped build up the program and turned the Bulls into one of the more fun, fast-paced programs in the sport. He boasts a 97-43 record in his short career, and 13 days ago, he signed a contract extension to stay at Buffalo. There are some obvious challenges to coaching at Alabama — especially considering four players are currently in the NCAA’s transfer portal — but Crimson Tide basketball fans can take solace in knowing that it appears their athletic department made a home run hire.