In about half an hour, UB will formally announce Nate Oats as the 13th Men's Basketball head coach in school history with a press conference in Alumni Arena. We'll be watching along and live updating this post.
You can also watch live from any computer or mobile device at this link. Once the presser actually starts, I'll embed the video, as well, but I think for now it would just autoplay the basketball celebration of a few weeks ago.
<iframe width="720" height="437" src="http://www.ustream.tv/embed/18110568?v=3&wmode=direct" scrolling="no" frameborder="0" style="border: 0px none transparent;"> </iframe>
<br /><a href="http://www.ustream.tv" style="font-size: 12px; line-height: 20px; font-weight: normal; text-align: left;" target="_blank">Broadcast live streaming video on Ustream</a>
Of course, Oats rises to the top of the UB Basketball food chain just days after former coach Bobby Hurley left Buffalo to become the head coach at Arizona State. An assistant under the now-departed head coach for the entire two-year Hurley era, Oats came to Division I basketball with about as pristine a high-school career as one can put together: In 11 years at Detroit-area Romulus, Oats led the Eagles to seven straight conference championships, advanced to the Michigan Final Four five times, won the state title once in his final year, and on three different occasions led his team into the National AP poll.
Oats' hire has been celebrated by fans eager to keep the talented reigning MAC champions together for another season next year, and there's almost no doubt that no option in the coaching search would be more likely to minimize transfers and defections. But it - and the circumstances surrounding Hurley's departure - have re-energized critics of Director of Athletics Danny White and of the department as a whole.
Oats steps into the head job at a critical juncture for the program and department, with visibility, expectations, and criticism at all-time highs. This afternoon will be the first chance the public gets to hear from the new coach and his plans both short-term and long-term. Join us in the comments to share your thoughts.
Once again, I'll embed the video in this post once it gets going.