Nate Oats named UB men’s basketball head coach
Former assistant coach Nate Oats was named head coach of the men’s basketball team Saturday.
Oats replaces former head coach Bobby Hurley, who Oats served under for two seasons. Hurley accepted the head coaching vacancy at Arizona State Thursday.
Athletic Director Danny White released a statement which said after hours of conversation with Oats, it became clear to him that “the best candidate to lead our men’s basketball team was already on campus.”
“I am extremely confident that UB men’s basketball will continue to grow and reach new heights under Nate's leadership,” White said in a statement. “To be sure, Alumni Arena will be an electric environment again next year as these talented student-athletes fight to defend their Mid-American Conference Championship!”
Oats released a statement thanking White and President Satish Tripathi for the opportunity to coach the Bulls. He also thanked Hurley for bringing him to Buffalo two years ago.
“We are starting to establish a great tradition of success here and I am extremely excited about getting to work with the coaching staff and players in order to focus on carrying that tradition forward into the future,” Oats said in his statement.
Oats coached at Romulus High School near Detroit, Michigan for 11 seasons – winning the school’s first state title in 27 years in 2012-13 – before coming to Buffalo with Hurley in 2013.
Oats coached three current Bulls players at Romulus – including MAC Player of the Year Justin Moss, junior forward Raheem Johnson and freshman guard Christian Pino – and was particularly instrumental in bringing Moss to UB.
Oats told Indian Hills Community College head coach Barret Peery to give Moss an opportunity after Moss was diagnosed with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, a heart disease that causes a buildup of tissues that can often lead to cardiac arrest. Toledo would not allow Moss to play basketball. Moss played one season for Indian Hills before Oats brought him to Buffalo.
“It’s kind of cliché, but I really don’t know where I would be without [Oats],” Moss told The Spectrum in November. “He’s done a lot for me, so I’m really appreciative that I met him.”
There has been speculation that some of Buffalo’s top players, including sophomore guard Shannon Evans, would transfer because of Hurley’s departure and even possibly join him at Arizona State.
Evans tweeted Saturday, “So proud of my guy [Nate Oats].”
An introductory press conference for Oats will be held at Alumni Arena at 3 p.m. Monday.
The Spectrum will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.
Tom Dinki is the senior news editor. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org