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College Basketball

Buffalo, Oats Reach Deal on Extension

Buffalo, Oats Reach Deal on Extension

Buffalo head coach Nate Oats has reached an agreement on a contract extension to remain with the Bulls.

Oats, 43, had been a potential target to replace Kevin Stallings at Pitt. He was already under contract through the 2020-21 season, but was somewhat underpaid at $355,000 per season.

“We are very pleased Nate will remain at UB to continue the great success the men’s basketball program has achieved under his leadership,” Buffalo athletic director Kathy Twist said in a press release.  “He has proven himself to be a tremendous leader on and off the court and a highly respected member of the UB community and the Mid-American Conference.”

The new, five-year contract will run through the end of the 2022-23 season.

“I love this group of players that I get to coach every day and am excited to continue to lead this group,” Oats said. “Crystal and I have enjoyed raising our family in Western New York and we are glad that we can continue to do so in such a special place.”

Oats said in January that he wanted to work out a new contract with the Bulls and remain in Buffalo, where’s coached since the 2015-16 season.

The extension probably won’t completely block a larger program from poaching Oats, but it would make the financial cost of such a move that much more prohibitive.

Oats’ Bulls are 24-8 in 2017-18 and are the top seed in the Mid-American Conference tournament. They’re looking for their second NCAA Tournament berth in Oats’ three seasons. He was also named the 2018 MAC Coach of the Year.

Pitt fired head coach Kevin Stallings on Thursday after two seasons on the job. Pitt finished 2017-18 8-24. The Panthers have plenty of other candidates for the job, but Oats was seen as an option that would be fairly easy for Pitt to handle financially while dealing with the repercussions of Stallings’ buyout, believed to be in the neighborhood of $9.4 million.

Sandy Schall, Coldwell Banker

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