Nate Oats leaving UB

Men's basketball head coach signs new contract with Alabama

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Men’s basketball head coach Nate Oats is leaving UB for the same position at the University of Alabama.

Oats, who signed a five-year extension on March 14, resigned on Wednesday and owes UB $750,000 to take the position in Alabama.  

When Oats signed his new deal, he told his agent to tell other schools “no” unless the offer is “unreal.” Oats was set to make $837,000 this season and will replace Alabama coach Avery Johnson who made $2.9 million this season.

Oats would have been the highest-paid public employee in New York State.

The men’s basketball program just finished its best season in program history finishing with 32 wins and earning a No. 6 seed in the NCAA tournament. Buffalo was ranked for 19 consecutive weeks and has won Mid-American Conference championships in three of Oats’ four years as head coach.

“I want to thank the UB administration for helping us elevate Buffalo into one of the premier mid-major programs in the country,” Oats said in a UB Athletics press release. “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.”

Associate head coach Jim Whitesell will serve as the interim head coach during the search.

This announcement comes after Oats reaffirmed his love for Western New York when he signed his new contract.

“I wish Nate the very best and we’re thankful for everything he has done to elevate our men’s basketball program,” said Athletic Director Mark Alnutt in a press release. “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.”

UB Athletics said they will not be releasing any further comments on the search at this time.

This is a developing story

Nathaniel Mendelson is the senior sports editor and can be reached at nathaniel.mendelson@ubspectrum.com and on Twitter @NateMendelson