Alabama’s Nate Oats lands extension, lobbies for new arena




Alabama men’s basketball coach Nate Oats, who received a contract extension through 2029 on Friday, wants to see the program build off the court during his tenure.

To that extent, Oats is emphasizing the need for a new arena.

"We’ve got to get the money raised," Oats said Friday after his new pact was announced. "It is 100 percent a priority for (athletic director Greg Byrne), myself, the entire athletic department, the university as a whole. They’re working on getting it done. It’s a process. They’re not putting a shovel in the ground next week that I know of. We’re going to keep working on it. Greg’s working hard on it, I know."

The proposed new venue for the university’s basketball and gymnastics team was originally due to cost $183 million, but the estimates are now up to nearly $250 million, according to multiple media reports.

"I’ve said it before: The arena is a bigger deal for the fans, the donors, the people who come and watch the game than the players and the coaches that coach in it," Oats said. "We’ve obviously proven we can keep the program at a pretty high level here (at Coleman Coliseum)."

The current 15,383-seat venue opened in 1968 and was renovated in 2005.

Oats, 48, will see his new salary start at $4.5 million and rise $200,000 per subsequent season, AL.com and CBS Sports reported Thursday.

He is now one of the top 10 highest-paid coaches in college basketball, according to both reports.

"I am honored and humbled to receive a contract extension from The University of Alabama," Oats said in a statement. "As I have said many times, my family and I love this community, the city of Tuscaloosa and the University. I am incredibly proud of what we have been able to build during our time at UA which is a direct reflection of the student-athletes, coaches and staff who have all played a big part in our success."

Oats is in his fourth season at Alabama and has an 80-39 overall mark entering a Saturday game at LSU. He has Alabama (19-3, 9-0 Southeastern Conference) ranked No. 4 in the country. Oats has led Alabama to two NCAA Tournament appearances, including a run to the Sweet 16 in the 2021 tourney.

Alabama hired Oats away from Buffalo, where he went 96-43 in four seasons (2015-19) and led the Bulls to three NCAA Tournament appearances.

--Field Level Media

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