The University at Buffalo Department of Athletics announced Wednesday that Nate Oats has resigned as head coach of the men's basketball team to take a similar position at the University of Alabama.
Oats, who was named the Mid America Conference's Coach of the Year in 2018, was quick to change his Twitter profile to reflect his new employer. His new boss, Alabama Athletic Director Greg Byrne, was among those tweeting excitement at their hire.
Oats' Bulls men's basketball team won the MAC championship tournament in 2016, 2018 and 2019 and in the two latter years advanced to the second round of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. He joined UB in 2013 as an assistant coach under Bobby Hurley and took the position of head coach in 2015 after Hurley left for his current position at Arizona State.
The two faced off as the Bulls defeated the Sun Devils in the first round of the 2019 NCAA Tournament, 91-74.
UB Athletic Director Mark Alnutt issued the following written statement: "I wish Nate the very best and we’re thankful for everything he has done to elevate our men’s basketball program. An opportunity like this is life changing for Nate and his family. Thanks to Nate and the team’s success, the Buffalo coaching position will be extremely attractive and a national search is already underway. It will be conducted as quickly and as thoroughly as possible. We wish Nate and his family all the best.
Oats, in a prepared statement released by the university, said: “I want to thank the UB administration for helping us elevate Buffalo into one of the premier mid-major programs in the country. The support we have received from the Western New York community during the good times and the bad times has been nothing short of amazing. This community has made Buffalo feel like home for Crystal and my family over the last six years.”
Ironically, Oats had agreed to a five-year contract extension with UB earlier this month. According to the Buffalo News, the extension would have set Oats' base salary at $837,000 per year, including $225,000 coming from designated gifts to the men's basketball program.
Details of Oats' deal at Alabama were not yet disclosed as of late Wednesday afternoon but the news website AL.com noted that the coach he is replacing, Avery Johnson, had earned in excess of $3 million last season.
Associate head coach Jim Whitesell was named interim head coach during the Bulls' search for a replacement. The Department of Athletics stated in writing it is commenting no further at this time.