Alabama basketball made the right call by extending Nate Oats
Alabama basketball has seen quite the improvement this season, and Greg Byrne decided he had seen enough. After less than two full seasons as the Tide’s head coach, Oats signed an extension that will keep him in Tuscaloosa for the foreseeable future.
The extension came with a raise, and Oats will now be making $3.225 million a year. This may seem steep, and it is a lot of money. Oats is now in the top 30 in terms of base salary for college basketball coaches. While many will view this as too much, there is no doubt that he is worth every penny.
Alabama basketball has been near the bottom of the SEC for a while, and their best-case scenario was ending up on the right side of the bubble after the SEC Tournament. This year, Alabama is competing to be a one-seed and have a real chance to reach the Final Four.
While this is all impressive, one successful season is not worth a multi-year extension. Thankfully, Nate Oats has done more than succeed this year. He has done everything needed to prove that this is a culture shift. Oats isn’t building a team in Tuscaloosa. He’s building a program.
How do we know this? For starters, he holds every player to a high standard. You can see him chewing out bench players during garbage time for making mistakes. Alabama also uses a mix of underclassmen and veterans, so the Tide will have experience on the roster next season despite losing Herb Jones and John Petty.
Oats is also turning Alabama basketball into a strong recruiting destination. He added multiple key transfers and high school recruits in the 2020 class, but he is still improving the team. JD Davison will be wearing crimson in 2021, and he is expected to be one of the best players in the history of Alabama basketball.
If anything, Alabama is a year ahead of schedule. 2021-22 was supposed to be Oats’ real opportunity to prove himself. The fact that the Tide are already competitive shows that Oats is worth the money. We’ll see what he does in the future, but this is a good move for all parties involved.