Nate Oats, Alabama basketball ink long-term contract to reportedly make him one of highest-paid coaches

LOUISVILLE, KENTUCKY - MARCH 23:  Nate Oates the head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide during practice for the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament - South Regional at KFC YUM! Center on March 23, 2023 in Louisville, Kentucky. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Nate Oates will be head coach of the Alabama Crimson Tide for a long time. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

Alabama basketball head coach Nate Oats has signed a long-term contract extension that will make him one of the five highest-paid coaches in the country, according to a report from ESPN on Friday.

Athletic Director Greg Byrne released a statement confirming the news, adding that Oats’ deal will go before the program’s Board of Trustees for approval next week.

“We are excited about the success of our men’s basketball program and Nate’s continued commitment to the University. We look forward to him leading our men’s basketball program for many years to come.”

After Juwan Howard was fired after five seasons on Friday, Oats’ name began to appear on lists of ideal candidates for Michigan’s open coaching position. Byrne was quick to quiet the noise.

The new deal is his third extension with the team since 2021. It comes after he agreed to an extension in February 2023 that would’ve carried him through the 2028-’29 season. He was reportedly set to earn $4.1 million this year and average more than $5 million annually through the end of the deal.

Oats, 49, assumed his role with the Crimson Tide after spending four seasons as head coach of the University of Buffalo’s program. Since his arrival in Alabama, he has notched a pair of SEC conference tournament titles, two SEC regular-season titles and three appearances in the NCAA tournament.

His success marked a turnaround for Alabama, as the team had only secured two NCAA tournament berths in 13 years before he took the helm. The Tides’ SEC regular season title in 2021 was their first since 1991, and the subsequent tournament championship title broke a 19-year drought. He repeated the accomplishment during the next season, giving the program its first-ever No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament to boot.

Oats has proven to be a skilled recruiter, securing a host of highly sought after prospects. Six players under his leadership at Alabama have gone on to the NBA, four of whom were selected in the first round. His tenure has seen its share of controversy, however. The coach was tasked with managing scrutiny surrounding Brandon Miller last season before he became 2023’s No. 2 overall pick.

Last month, Oats had to apologize for shoving Missouri’s Aidan Shaw during a mid-game altercation. That matchup resulted in a 93-75 win for Alabama en route to the team’s 21-10 record this season (13-5 in the SEC).

The news’ of Oats extension should set a good tone for Alabama’s SEC tournament opener against sixth-seeded Florida on Friday night. The Tide is currently poised for a top-four seed in the NCAA tournament.

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