“I have been watching Coach Oats for the last few years as he has led the University at Buffalo to unprecedented heights,” Alabama AD Greg Byrne said on Wednesday. “As we spoke to some of the best college and pro basketball minds in the country, his name came up time and time again. 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.”
Oats, who was coaching at a high school in Michigan just six years ago, has made quite a splash at the collegiate level. Elevated to head coach at Buffalo in 2015 after just two seasons on Bobby Hurley‘s staff there, Oats led the Bulls to back-to-back MAC titles and NCAA appearances. This year’s squad was nationally ranked for much of the season and earned a 6-seed in the Big Dance.
Though he signed a contract extension at UB just a couple weeks ago, the opportunity to coach at Alabama (and the deep pockets of the athletic program) pulled him down into SEC country. The Tide went to the NCAA Tournament just a year ago, but former head coach Avery Johnson was bought out last week.
h/t to Harry Scull Jr/Buffalo News for the photo