Nate Oats has traded in his Buffalo blue for Alabama crimson red.
Three days after the Bulls' loss to Texas Tech in the second round of the NCAA tournament, Oats became the new head coach of Alabama men's basketball.
Oats was officially introduced in Tuscaloosa on Thursday afternoon, the day after it was announced he was taking the job.
"We loved it in Buffalo. They were great to us. She [his wife, Crystal] beat cancer up there. We said if we were going to leave there it was going to be for something special. The University of Alabama is really something special. The tradition, the excellence, I mean it's a national brand," Nate Oats said in his introductory press conference.
The move less than two weeks after Oats signed a five year contract extension in Cleveland during the MAC tournament. But all the deal did was give him a much deserved raise while the school protected itself as the buyout increased.
Alabama fired Avery Johnson on Sunday after the team finished 18-16 overall. Oats is coming off a year where the Bulls won the MAC title, won a game in the NCAA tournament, were nationally ranked most of the year and finished with one of the best records in the country at 32-4.
After replacing Bobby Hurley, in four years with UB Oats took the Bulls to the NCAA tournament three out of four times and won the MAC title his first, third and fourth seasons.
He was also named MAC coach of the year for the second season in a row. His stock was never going to be higher so the move makes sense.
Oats praised all the people at UB and the Buffalo community as a whole in his introductory press conference.
"I'd also like to thank all the people at the University at Buffalo, Coach Hurley for giving me a shot out of high school, the administration there for taking a chance on a young coach without a lot of experience. To all the people there, all the players who played for us and played their hearts out and the community up there there gave us great support to the point where our family said we weren't going to leave unless it was something special," Oats said.
The whole process seemed to happen very fast. Oats said when he landed in Buffalo on Monday after the NCAA tournament, he had a voicemail from Alabama athletic direction, Greg Byrne. Oats called him back and the next night he was at their house in Grand Island having an enchilada dinner. The following day, on Wednesday, Oats was named head coach.
As far as the future of UB, there are some options in-house for Oats' replacement. Interim head coach and associate head coach Jim Whitesell is an option. Another is assistant Bryan Hodgson who was their main recruiter.
Oats told reporters after the press conference that if Hodgson does not get the job at UB, he will come work with Oats at Alabama.