Shortly after taking down another MAC opponent in dominant fashion on Tuesday night, Buffalo Bulls Men’s Basketball head coach Nate Oats stated that he hopes to have a contract extension signed before season’s end.
UB coach Nate Oats said he's already had conversations with President Tripathi and hopes to have contract extension in place before "jobs pop open" at end of season. "I want to be here," Oats said.— Jonah Bronstein (@lebronstein) January 24, 2018
Nate Oats asked about contract/future moving forward w/ @UBmenshoops w/ departure of Allen Greene to Auburn:— Nick Filipowski (@NEWS4_NICK) January 24, 2018
"I'd like to make sure something is done, in place, to make sure I'm here."@news4buffalo pic.twitter.com/JablOi11v9
Oats’ words are what every Bulls fan wants to hear. The team is off to a blistering start in MAC play and currently boasts a 15-5 overall record. All five of those losses come to teams in the top-60 of the NCAA’s RPI Rankings.
Next year could bring an even stronger campaign for Oats and his Bulls. Buffalo loses just Wes Clark to graduation and adds the best recruiting class it has ever had with a pair of four-star recruits and one of the best JUCO point guards from last year. There is no reason the Bulls couldn’t put together a respectable at-large resume.
But here’s the problem: A contract extension or restructuring absolutely needs to be done on UB’s part.
Oats’ quality of work has been phenomenal in his very short tenure since picking up where Bobby Hurley left off. Recruiting is off the charts and the team is well on its way to at the very least an NIT bid in March.
Although his quality of work is top-notch and he’s under contract through the 2020-2021 season, there’s quite the case to say he’s underpaid. Oats only makes $355,000 a year plus performance incentives and that’s definitely at least a couple hundred grand under the highest paid coach in the MAC. It’s not unreasonable for a coach like Oats to start pressing for a seven-figures contract.
It sounds like a lot money for a MAC coach, but the work of Nate Oats and his staff is quickly becoming a priceless asset for UB Athletics. Fan interest continues to increase and the general public is slowly filling Alumni Arena. In fact, UB has a solid chance at a sellout game next Friday as they push for #Operation6000. The winning that an Oats program provides will also only increase dollar amounts coming into a department starved of funds thanks to lack of help from SUNY.
This extension may be the single most important thing UB can do for its athletic department in the short term. It’s a no-brainer and if Oats asks for more money, the University can ask for a much higher buyout than the current $500,000 that will depreciate in the coming years.
Regardless of an extension, Oats will get a fair share of interest from job openings this year and even more next year. The Big Ten is surely going to be very hungry in the next couple of years for coaches and Oats would be a natural fit.